Two-Faced Land: Tongo Eisen-Martin & Leila Farjami

Programmed by Ava Koohbor

"It is a backward version of birth / Which is better stated as a re-birth" (Sun Ra). Revolutionary poet Tongo Eisen-Martin (Someone's Dead Already) and poet and translator Leila Farjami read from their work.

Tongo Eisen-Martin is a movement worker and educator who has organized against mass incarceration and extra-judicial killing of black people throughout the United States. He has taught in detention centers from New York's Rikers Island to California county jails. He is also a revolutionary poet who uses his craft to create liberated territory wherever he performs and teaches. His latest book of poems, Someone's Dead Already, was nominated for a California Book Award.

Leila Farjami, a poet, psychotherapist, and literary translator is the author of seven poetry books in Persian. As an immigrant who has lived mainly in US since an early age, her poems capture her experiences in the diaspora in addition to the history of her formative years in Iran as a child witnessing war and daily violence. Farjami’s current projects include publication her translated texts and poems in English, and the publication of a comprehensive volume of Sylvia Plath’s poetry in Persian.

Programmer Ava Koohbor is a native Farsi speaker, poet, and visual artist who lives in San Francisco. Her poems have appeared in various publications such as Streetnotes, Amerarcana, Eleven Eleven, and Dusie. Her chapbook Triangle Squared was published by Bootstrap Press. She is currently working on a project with poet Patrick James Dunagan involving translation of the poetry of Hafez into English.