Writers’ Workshop to Hold Quake Fundraiser in NYC

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NEW YORK — “Mother’s Milk,” a Japan earthquake fundraiser, will be held on Sunday, April 3, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, 110-112 W. 27th St., 6th Floor (between 6th and 7th avenues), Buzzer 600.

The event is co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.

To support the relief effort, AAWW is hosting poet, musician, and new mother Ishle Yi Park, who’s flying into town from Kauai. The New York Times writes, “Ms. Park has an angelic face and the soul of a rock star.”

She’ll be joined by poet-activist Suheir Hammad, whose work Naomi Shihab Nye has called “a brave flag over the dispossessed.” Musician Taiyo Na, writer and editor Chiwan Choi, and others will also share the stage.

Proceeds from the event will be donated to Save the Children, which has launched a $5 million appeal on behalf of the children of Japan. The program will also mark 100 days since the birth of Park’s daughter, Sulei.

Park’s given name means “morning dew” in Korean. Once upon a time she was the poet laureate of Queens, N.Y., and now she lives in Hawaii. Her first book, “The Temperature of This Water,” won the PEN America Open Book Award for Outstanding Writers of Color. Her work has been published in Ploughshares, Manoa, The Beacon Best, and Best American Poetry. Park was a touring cast member of Def Poetry Jam and regular on the HBO series, and has opened for artists such as KRS-One, Ben Harper, De La Soul, and Saul Williams.

Hammad was born in October 1973 in Amman, Jordan to Palestinian refugee parents and immigrated with her family to Brooklyn when she was five years old. She is the author of “breaking poems” (recipient of a 2009 American Book Award), “ZaatarDiva,” “Born Palestinian,” “Born Black” and “Drops of This Story.” An original writer and performer in the Tony Award-winning “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway,” Hammad appears in the 2008 Cannes Film Festival official selection “Salt of This Sea.”

Honored by Gov. David Paterson and the State of New York for his “legacy of leadership to the Asian American community and the Empire State” in May 2010, Na is a singer, songwriter, MC, and producer. His debut album, “Love Is Growth” (Issilah Productions, 2008) established him as a multidimensional talent with a unique voice that fuses the rhythms of the city that raised him with the soul of the Asian immigrant culture that birthed him.

Choi’s poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including ONTHEBUS and Esquire, and his first major collection of poetry, “The Flood,” was published by Tía Chucha Press in April 2010. He holds an MFA in dramatic writing from the Tisch School at NYU, and now lives in Los Angeles, where he and his wife recently launched Writ Large Press.

The event is open to the public. Suggested donation: $5. For more information, visit www.aaww.org or AAWW’s Facebook page.

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