Join us for a spoken word/musical performance of *abu ghraib arias*, winner of the Arab American Book Award in poetry in 2012.

Readers will include author Philip Metres, and graduate student poets Danny Caine and Paige Webb. Philip Fournier will improvise musical support, amplification of, and reactions to the poetry, on piano.

*abu ghraib arias* tells the story of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal of 2003, from the points of view of U.S. soldiers and Iraqi prisoners. It is a poetic meditation on why torture happened there, and what torture does, both to its victims and its perpetrators. The poem draws upon Standard Operating Procedure manuals, testimony of torture victims, the words of U.S. soldiers, the Bible, and other texts.

Bill Neumire writes that “this collection is finely stitched with moments of fearful music, moments that create pathos and an aching pleasure.”

Hilary Plum writes in the Kenyon Review: “Metres has created a text that incorporates both names and silence, that both names (the torturers) and aims to witness the silence, the violence they’ve inflicted, by allowing space in the text, exerting pressure on the speech until it breaks.

Philip Metres recently received an NEA fellowship in poetry, and has numerous books to his credit.

Philip Fournier is Titular Organist of the Toronto Oratory, Director of the Chant Schola & Oratory Children’s Choir. He specializes in Gregorian Chant, which he studied at Solesmes with Dom Saulnier. He gives solo organ recitals regularly at the Oratory, plays continuo and solo harpsichord and organ with Musicians in Ordinary, is guest organist of the Toronto Tallis Choir, artistic director and continuo player of the St. Vincent’s Baroque Soloists, guest cantor and organist for the Colby College Chant Seminar, and is active as a composer.

Posted on February 1, 2013