Point of Contact's one-two punch

Proof-reading legal documents at Puerto Rico's Supreme Court by day, since 2001Fuster has published five books under Carlos Roberto Gomez' highly regarded Isla Negra imprint -- short stories, an experimental novel and in 2005 her poems, "El Libro de las Sombres/The Book of Shadows," which she describes as "a witch's book of shadows, rituals, spells." That and her newest book, "Bocetas de una Ciudad Silente/Sketches of a Silent City," are available at Point of Contact. She has also co-edited a Spanish-language anthology of 27 Puerto Rican poets that spans the past quarter century.

Indian-born Newhouse film professor Tula Goenka read translations of Urdu poets Faiz Ahmed Faiz (twice a Nobel Prize nominee, he died in 1984) and the currently active, prolific Zeeshan Sahil at the book launch. Later she said, "Now we say Faiz is a Pakistani poet but many of us would argue that. He was writing from a united India, before the partition. I wanted to read the Urdu first. We didn't have the original, but I thought the sound alone would've been powerful. His poem 'Tyranny' -- that line, 'I have strangled the necks of dreams' -- has the same images as the Paul Taylor Dancers the night before at the Landmark, the dance about war. And Zeeshan Sahil's poem about the young woman leaving her love to find her own path. It was very moving to me how they all connected."

Christopher Kennedy and his former student Raza Ali Hasan collaborated to translate the Faiz and Sahil poems, Hasan providing the literal translation, which Kennedy adapted poetically for American readers.

"A lot of people got turned off to poetry by their experience in school," reflected Kennedy later by phone. "There's a perceived disconnect and people feel excluded. You know, you can take some poetry off the shelf and just try it and don't worry if you understand it so much -- just experience it."

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