Walks and Readings Around Pittsburgh Feature Iraqi, Syrian Poems

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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“Digital Sanctuaries Pittsburgh” launched last week — Aug. 7-9 — on that city’s north side, in a garden-to-garden walk featuring the work of acclaimed musicians and writers, including Dunya Mikhail and Osama Alomar. The virtual performances continue to echo:

This mapping of Pittsburgh sites includes word, art, and music, the latter composed by Electric Kulintang. For those who weren’t at the launch, we can listen in online or download a walking-tour app.

The “Digital Sanctuaries” project began as a walking-tour of Manhattan, mostly near the World Trade Center site. The first app launched last November, the brainchild of New York City composers Susie Ibarra and Roberto Rodriguez.

The Pittsburgh app and tour are different. Poetry became part of it, selected by Pittsburgh’s “City of Asylum” co-founder Henry Reese.

Reese told the Pittsburgh City Paper:

As you go through this, you’ll hear poetry being read both in its original language and in translation when it’s from another country. You’ll hear Polish, and then the Polish translation — you’ll hear it being read with an accent. … We thought that was important, that you hear the presence of these voices and what they mean, both to what we do [at City of Asylum] and to animating the spaces in the community.

The walking tour apparently takes about an hour and fifteen minutes.

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