Dante Hafiz // Book Launch 5.27.17

The third event on Dante / Hafiz took place at Quimby's Bookstore in Brooklyn. We began the journey with the Sigh followed by the Gaze, and finally we sighed with / gazed on Beauty.

or as Hafiz puts it:

"if you take
good care
of it i will
give you
my heart
that contains
the pearl of
the secrets
of love and

This event also launched the publication, Dante/Hafiz: Readings on the Sigh, The Gaze, and Beauty.

With readings by Nicola & Franco Masciandaro, and a musical performance by Dijwar Karaman accompanied by dancer Eo Constantos.

Poetics & Higher Ed Justice // Panel 5.5.17

The Role of Writers in the Struggle for a Freer University

Roundtable featuring Makeba Lavan, Conor Tomás Reed, Zohra Saed, and Meghann Williams Moderated by Miriam Atkin

For this round table discussion, CUNY writers, teachers and activists will speak about the history of poets' involvement in mobilizing locally for higher ed access and equality, as well as visualize how writers and artists today can help in shaping the culture of our public institutions to better address the various economically, racially, and intellectually repressive tactics of the current regime.

The Gaze // Panel 10.22.16

Continuing a conversation between Dante and Hafiz that began last spring with 'Reading the Sigh,' this event featured two lectures on the poetics of the gaze.

Matthew Gallery // Residency 7.16

A reading at Matthew Gallery in Manhattan, as a culmination of a week long residency for the KAF Collective sponsored by Montez Press.


Miriam Atkin, Kurt Ralske, Rami Karim, Rijard Bergeron, Tom Haviv & Owen Roberts.

Reading the Sigh // Panel 5.6.16

This event, hosted by CUNY Graduate Center, featured two lectures on the significance of the sigh in the works of two medieval poetic masters, Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and Hafiz of Shiraz (1325-89), followed by a musical performance.


Nicola Masciandaro, "The Miracle of the Sigh"
Franco Masciandaro - “Dante's Sighs”
Peter Booth - “Sighs in the Realm of Love’s Infinity”
Dijwar Karaman, santoor

Sara Deniz Akant's Book Launch // 4.16.16

Kaf Collective celebrated Sara Deniz Akant’s new book, Babette (Rescue Press, 2015)

Sara Deniz Akant is the author of Babette, selected by Maggie Nelson for the Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize, as well as Parades (Omnidawn, 2014) and Latronic Strag (Persistent Editions, 2015). Her work has been recognized with fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has appeared most recently in The Brooklyn Rail, The Denver Quarterly, jubilat, and Lana Turner. Akant has taught poetry and writing at the University of Iowa and the City University of New York.

The night also featured a reading by Jessica Laser and a musical performance by Dijwar Karaman.

Newroz // Celebration 03.26.2016

Annual Newroz Celebration at 552 Hancock Street

Newroz (the new day), as a beginning in the ancient sense of the word, is the celebration of the new year and spring, as well as our collective resistance and struggle against the whistles that blow fear in us, against cultural amnesia and myopia, against forces that work to eradicate our human traces of / in history. 


David Henderson, Eva Salina, Selim Temo, Demet Arpacik, Dijwar Karaman, and Mehdi Darvishi.

Some of My Best Friends are Zionists // Screening 3.25.16

Some of My Best Friends are Zionists is a film directed by Bruce Robbins.

Introduction: Öykü Tekten (English Department, The Graduate Center)
Moderator: Tony Alessandrini (Kingsborough Community College & The Graduate Center) 

Screening Co-Sponsors:

Kaf Collective (Brooklyn/Istanbul/Tel Aviv)
Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (CUNY Graduate Center)
Middle Eastern Studies Organization (CUNY Graduate Center)
Critical Palestine Studies Association (CUNY Graduate Center)
The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics (CUNY Graduate Center)
The Committee on Globalization and Social Change (CUNY Graduate Center)
The Space Time Research Collective (CUNY Graduate Center)

A Flag of No Nation // Performance 3.20.16

The second of Kaf’s gatherings in the James Gallery at CUNY Graduate Center is Tom Haviv’s A Flag of No Nation, a series of performances and installations revolving around a nationless flag and a series of poems based on the writing of Sol LeWitt. This evening's performance will be a collaborative engagement with the text and flag that will include readings and dance. 

With Jules Bakshi, Anaïs Maviel and Öykü Tekten

Palestine: Nothing Makes Sense, Why Should I? // Performance 02.18.2016

A performance by Suad Amiry at the James Gallery

This event featured Suad Amiry, a Palestinian writer, conservation architect, and political/social activist, who performed from her internationally acclaimed memoir Sharon and My Mother in Law: Ramallah Diaries (Random House, 2005). Based on the diaries and correspondence Amiry kept from 1981 to 2004, the text uses humor and irony eloquently to describe the reality, absurdity, and cruelty of living in the Occupied Territories under a prolonged Israeli Occupation. The event was moderated by Oyku Tekten, and followed by a Q&A session.

Co-Sponsored by:

Kaf Collective
Critical Palestine Studies Association
The James Gallery, CUNY Graduate Center 

For more information, please visit here.

Roshmia // Screening 2.12.16

Introduction: Shoumik Bhattacharya (The Graduate Center, CUNY)
Discussant: Tami Gold (Hunter College/The Graduate Center, CUNY)

About the Film

Since 1956, when he became a refugee from downtown Haifa’s Wadi Alsaleeb neighbourhood, 80-year-old Yousef has lived with his wife Amna, a refugee from Yasoor, in a shack in Roshmia Valley. Life is quiet until the Municipality of Haifa plans to build a road across the valley to connect the Mediterranean to Mount Karmel – which will mean the couple’s shack will be demolished, forcing them to find a new home. Their sponsor, acting as middleman between them and the municipality, attempts to negotiate compensation for them, but this will lead to tension among the three individuals.

About the Director

Salim Abu Jabal was born in the occupied Golan Heights in 1971, and has worked in cinema and television as a production manager and casting director on several Palestinian and international films. He has also worked as a writer, journalist, critic, and producer.

Screening Co-Sponsors:

The Global Studies Collective
The Center for Place, Culture, and Politics
The Women of Color Network
Kaf Collective

STRC (The Space Time Research Collective)
Critical Palestine Studies Association

Kaf Three // Reading 10.17.2015

KAF Reading / Performance Event at 1335 Hancock Street


Gao Jiafeng & Kurt Ralske (voice, electronics, trumpet)
Miriam Gabriel (poetry)
Jonathan Wood Vincent (accordion, songs)

About the artists:

JONATHAN WOOD VINCENT (SoundCloud | Bandcamp) is a composer, pianist, accordionist, improviser, singer, poet, gooroo, etc. He creates sprawling songs, piano improvisations, miniature epic story-pieces and chamber music, and is the founding member of Eye-Me-Or™ Therapeutics. He currently plays in Stupid Wisdom along with dancer Zack Fuller and violinist and composer Katt Hernandez. He has recorded and performed with post-Torah folk rockers Girls in Trouble, alt country singer songwriter Eileen Rose, Master Lee of Chink Floyd, a multilingual stripper rap band called Un Cuerpo Exquisito with Tatsuya Nakatani, inventor/microtonalist Adam James Wilson, drummer Jeff Arnal and Will Redman, reed player John Dierker, in addition to countless others. He runs a performance series called Papacookie in his living room and throughout New York. His works have been commissioned by Anti- Social Music and the Seattle Percussion Collective. He has recordings on Emanem, Sony, Kimchee, J-Dub, Stone Quarry, Generate Records, etc.

MIRIAM GABRIEL, MA, is a scholar and poet currently based in New York. She received her Masters in Consciousness Studies from Goddard College and is currently pursuing a Masters in Middle Eastern Studies from CUNY. Her research interests include the politics (and gendering) of mysticism and the relationship between poetics and communal memory. As a poet she has been featured at the HUB Oakland alongside Sonya Renee Taylor (2012), Mindy Nettifee (2014) and Robert Karimi (2015). She was voted Poet of New York at the Bowery Arts + Science Club twice last summer and will be featured at their documentary. She loves making sappy handmade cards and posters that portray the irony of a domesticated leftism (not really an irony actually), and she dreams of becoming a (transinstitutional?) professor who does public-transportation performances on the side.

KURT RALSKE's video installations and performances enact a dialogue with history: an exploration of the past that proposes a new view of the future. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Venice Biennale in 2009 and 2015, the Guggenheim Bilbao, and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
Kurt is the recipient of a Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship, and received First Prize at the Transmediale International Media Art Festival in Berlin in 2003. Kurt programmed and co-designed the 9-channel video installation that is permanently in the lobby of the MoMA in NYC. He is also the author/programmer of Auvi, a popular video software environment in use by artists in 22 countries.
Kurt resides in New York City. He is Chair of the department of Media Arts (Digital Media / Video / Film / Animation / Sound) at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Alongside his art practice, Kurt is active as an improvising musician and composer.

GAO JIAFENG is a crossdiscipline performer and multi-instrumentalist. He is known for a unique style of solo performance, which involves but not limited to freestyle storytelling, field recording, instrument improvisation, live Karaoke, DJing, body movements, etc. His work has been presented/exhibited by organizations and venues including Triennale Museum Milan (IT) , XP (CHN), Meridian Space (CHN), Kandala Records (TPE), Cochlea (TPE), Re-Records (HK), Flux Factory (US), Outpost Artist Resources (US). Gao is also known for his instrument design "Tri-O"- a MIDI controller based on geometric system-generated data irregularity, which was chosen the third place winner of 2014 Guthman Musical Instrument Competition. He has collaborated with Li Zenghui, Arrington de Dionyso, Li Jianhong, Kurt Ralske, Todd Capp, Sean Ali, Michael Foster, Yi Xin Tong and many others.

The Wanted 18 // Screening 10.13.15

The Wanted 18 is a film directed by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan.


Riham Barghouti (Adalah-NY)
Tony Alessandrini (Kingsborough Community College & The Graduate Center)
Emma Alpert (Just Vision)

The screening was co-sponsored by:

The Center for Place, Culture and Politics, CUNY Graduate Center
MEMEAC, CUNY Graduate Center
The Committee on Globalization and Social Change, CUNY Graduate Center
The Space Time Research Collective (STREAC)

Memory for Forgetfulness // 12.14.14

An afternoon of readings & music to gather our attention to the events of summer 2014 in Israel and Palestine, particularly in Gaza, the events of this moment, continuous and discontinuous with this past, and the events of many possible futures.

Readings/Performances by:

Ammiel Alcalay, Mati Shemoelof, Sousan Hammad, Miriam Atkin, Iris Cushing, Nicola Masciandaro, Lynley Shimat Lys, Öykü Tekten, DisOrient (Demet Arpacik, Mehdi Darvishi, Onur Sonmez, Ozan Aksoy, and Insia Malik)

Hosted by the Bowery Poetry Club
Co-sponsored by MEMEAC