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Video: "Just because..." (5:37)

Original poetry, written and recited by students of The Theater II Class, Gunn High Scool, Palo Alto, CA. - Jim Shelby, Teacher
Inspired by Esther Kamkar's poem "Just because..."

Esther Kamkar's tribute to Ishiuchi Miyako and her Hiroshima series
Framed print created by Esther Kamkar

A tribute to Ishiuchi Miyako - photographer - ひろしま/hiroshima series.

"Beginning October 6, the work of Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako will be the subject of a major exhibition at the Getty Center, the first museum show in the United States to highlight the career of this groundbreaking artist. But today—exactly two months prior to the opening of Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows—marks the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, a topic that has engaged Ishiuchi since 2007.

For the last eight years, Ishiuchi has traveled to Hiroshima to photograph objects affected by the atomic bombing of that city, now preserved by and housed in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum."

Above text thanks to Amanda Maddox, Aug 6, 2015 - The Getty Iris
Esther Kamkar & Bill Cozzini

Well-RED Reading Series,
Wednesday, July 15, 2015, 7:00PM at Works/San José.

Esther Kamkar's books include A Leopard in My Pocket (1998), Hummingbird Conditions (2002, Ziba Press), Hum of Bees (2011, Ziba Press) and Honey Thief (2014). She received an artist grant from the Peninsula Community Foundation (2001) to publish Hummingbird Conditions in a letterpress limited edition. Her collection was used to teach a series of workshops about poetry and handmade bookmaking to children in the Ecumenical Hunger Project's summer program in East Palo Alto. She also received a grant from the Clay and Glass Arts Foundation (2003) for her project, "Personal Narratives in Poetry and Clay", a series of workshops for children in the Boys and Girls Club, East Palo Alto. Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and have been anthologized in The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and its Exiles and also Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora. She has read at numerous venues in the San Francisco and DC areas and in the UK cities of London, Penrith, and St. Andrews.

Bill Cozzini first started writing poetry in 1978, to express the observations acquired as a playground misfit. Though initial higher education focused on theatre, particularly the raw humanity of tragedy and comedy, he realized that expression through writing, especially the idyllic demands of poetry, challenged and fulfilled beyond performance. Because of that theatre background, especially the respect and community that theatre demanded of audience and performer, he could not deny his dissatisfaction while exploring the weekly bay area open mic poetry scene. To counter the cliquish, cold, and pedantic aspects of the weekly poetry reading community, he began working with local artists and formed the Ajax Lounge poetry series in 1992.

While publishing his own works and hundreds of other artists during those years, Mr. Cozzini realized that no earthly poem ever conceived, regardless of religious, political, or artistic intent, realized the power or the worth contained within the glory and mystery of any individual. So, with the pending arrival of his son, his community participation waned. As children grow and leave their nests, so do adults. With great respect and appreciation, Mr. Cozzini re-arrives on the San Jose poetry scene to participate with great individuals that continue to pursue great art. Though presently working as a documentarian and biographer for Roberto Tinoco Duran, Mr. Cozzini continues to write poetry, and when cameras pursue, often appears underneath apple trees reading Chaucer.

Time: 7.00PM
Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
Venue: Works/San José, 365 South Market Street
in downtown San José, Doors open 6:30PM
$2 suggested donation, no one turned away.
Works is on the Market Street edge of the San Jose Convention Center, just to the right of the parking garage entrance (DIRECTIONS)

Esther Kamkar & J.David Cummings

Poetry Flash presents J. David Cummings and Esther Kamkar, Thursday, March 5th
at Moe's Books, Berkeley.

J. David Cummings’s debut collection, Tancho, won the 2013 Snyder Award from Ashland Poetry Press, selected by Alicia Suskin Ostriker, who says, “This is a book that needed to be written and needs to be read. Its account of terrible beauty is itself beautiful, speaking of ‘hope and despair, the promise of each to other.’ Nagasaki, Hiroshima, ‘ruined human beings,’ a peace park, a sounding bell, a thousand paper cranes.” J. David Cummings resigned his position as a theoretical physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 1973 and vowed to end his work in nuclear weapons. He visited Japan in the early 1990s and visited the Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park. Tancho, his book-length meditation on the U.S. nuclear bombing of Japan, whose composition took him almost two decades, is the result.

Esther Kamkar has published three collections of poetry, Hummingbird Conditions, a letterpress limited edition, and the chapbook A Leopard in My Pocket and more recently Hum of Bees by Zibapress. John Waterman says, “Esther Kamkar’s poetry is as changing as the ocean, as passionate as a pomegranate tree in blossom, as deep and clear as a pool in a mountain stream.” Born in Tehran, Iran, she has lived in the USA since 1973. Published in many literary journals, her poetry has been anthologized in The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and its Exiles and Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora.

Time: 7.30PM
Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Venue: MOE'S BOOKS, 2476 Telegraph Ave,
Berkeley, CA 94704 ~ Between Dwight Way and Haste St (510) 849-2087 (DIRECTIONS)

News from StAnza - Scotland - March 11

StAnza 2015, Scotland - Photo credit: John Starr

At StAnza 2015:
Esther Kamkar, Eamonn Lynskey, Samuel Tongue, Jasmine Heydari, David J Costello and David Lee Morgan have written about different conflicts from different perspectives. Sweden-based Jasmine Heydari explores her own experiences on living with memories of the Iran-Iraq war...Read More.
Check out Daniel Warren's specially commissioned film of StAnza 2012 to get a feel for the people, place and venues.

Byre Theatre - StAnza Festival - Scotland

Esther Kamkar is travelling to Scotland! She will perform and discuss her poem "No School for Children in a Time of War" (selected for the recently published anthology "In Protest - 150 Poems For Human Rights". Her reading will be held at

Scotland's StAnza International Poetry Festival ~ March 5th to 9th

Esther Kamkar at the StAnza FestivalIranian-American poet Esther Kamkar will read at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland
Sunday, March 9, 2015, 7PM (FREE)

This 'Poetry in Protest' segment of the Festival has been organized by poet Laila Sumpton.

"A powerful performance of contemporary war poetry published in In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights about conflicts ranging from the Spanish Civil War to Syria. Hosted by co-editor and poet Laila Sumpton, the poets published in the anthology and those performing at the festival come together to perform global war poetry and celebrate the resilience of the human spirit and the need to bear witness to the horrors of war." - Review supplied by third party

The Byre Theatre venue includes an Auditorium, Studio Theatre, Conference Room, foyers, bar/bistro & restaurant. There is a poetry bookstall where Esther Kamkar's latest book "Hum Of Bees" will be available for purchase.

Time: 7.00 - 7.30pm
Sunday, March 9, 2015 (One day only!)
Venue: The Byre Theatre
Admission: Free
Location: Top of Abbey Street, off the east end of South Street. Also accessible from the Byre Close off South Street (MAP)

Anthology: In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights

'In Protest: 150 Poems for Human Rights'
Launch date: 20 October 2013

Includes Esther Kamkar's poem,
"No School for Children in a Time of War"

The launch of this anthology is part of the Bloomsbury Festival and part of a whole series of events related to the theme of human rights and refuge organised by the School of Advanced Study. This event will be preceded by a human rights poetry slam which has been organized by Keats House Poets, and you are welcome to attend.

Poet and writer Ruth Padel and philanthropist and publisher Sigrid Rausing will speak at the launch, and there will be readings from a variety of contributors to the publication.

Where: Beveridge Hall (ground floor) at Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Time: 6PM    Date: Sunday 20 October
Anthology copies for purchase: special discounted rate of £5.00 on the day
More info contact:


To watch video in full screen mode, press the button above while playing.

Esther KamkarA nice surprise from the young people of Prince Edward Island, Canada, who, with the help and expertise of the Women’s Network PEI and the One Circle Foundation produced this beautiful video. The following is Esther's original poem:

Just Because...

Just because I was born in Iran,
I am not a belly dancer
I am not a fortune teller
I am not a camel rider

I am a poet.

Just because I am a woman,
I don’t like diamonds
I don’t love to shop
I don’t worship credit cards

I love to play with clay.

Just because I am a Jew,
I don’t make a fortune
I don’t hate Arabs
I don’t believe in “an eye for an eye”

I remember and give refuge.

Just because I am a mother,
I am not regretful
I am not a martyr
I am not a fixer

I listen and I love.

For the benefit of Factr, Restoring the spirit of refugees and immigrants

Poetic Cellars Winery  Well-Versed Wines For The Romantic At Heart

Poets Esther Kamkar and Joseph Naegele will read at the Arts and Poetry Auction to benefit FACTR - a service, research and training center for the resilience of refugees and immigrants, in San Jose, California.
The venue is the Poetic Cellars Winery, 5000 N. Rodeo Gulch Road, Soquel, CA 95073 (MAP)

June 8th, 4 PM to 8 PM
Tickets: $40 - Light appetizers and wine will be included in the ticket price.
For tickets* and other info call 408.993.8188 or buy online:
*A portion of contribution can be tax deductible
Shuttles to the FACTR Art and Poetry Auction on June 8 will be meeting at the FACTR offices at 2:45pm and will leave by 3:15pm

FACTR: 1922 The Alameda, Suite 425, San Jose, CA 95126
Phone: (408) 993-8188 | Fax: (408) 294-5244

Poetry reading at Illahe Studios and Gallery - Ashland, Oregon

Esther Kamkar & John Daniel at
Illahe Studios and Gallery for
National Poetry Month - April 18, 7PM

215 Fourth Street, Ashland, Oregon 97520 - 541-488-5072   MAP

Esther Kamkar: "Esther Kamkar's poetry is as changing as the ocean, as passionate as a pomegranate tree in blossom, as deep and clear as a pool in a mountain stream. Her poems are lovingly crafted, utterly honest, full of evocative imagery and awakenings that bounce around in our consciousness – to be enjoyed again and again, like a favorite book or work of art. Esther Kamkar's wish? That her words may inspire you and speak to your own poetic and artistic voice. Go ahead, immerse yourself and enjoy."
- John Waterman 2005

John Daniel: Born in South Carolina and raised in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., John Daniel has lived in the West since 1966. After attending and dropping out of Reed College in Portland, Oregon, he worked as a logger, railroad inspector, rock climbing instructor, hod carrier, and poet-in-the-schools. He began to write poetry and prose in the 1970s while living on a ranch in south-central Oregon. In 1982 he received a Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry at Stanford University, where he then took an M.A. in English/Creative Writing and taught five years as a Jones Lecturer in Poetry and a lecturer in Freshman English. He now makes his living as a writer and itinerant teacher in workshops and writer-in-residence positions around the country.

March 14, 2013, 7pm
Join us for an evening of poetry to mark the
6th anniversary of the al-Mutanabbi Street
bombing in Baghdad, Iraq and to celebrate
the publication of the anthology

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

With Bay Area poets Gloria Collins,
Erica Goss, Esther Kamkar, Persis
Karim, Evelyn So, Robert Perry and
founder of the "Al-Mutanabbi Street
Starts Here Coalition," Beau
Beausoleil and co-editor, Deema
Shehabi—with special guests Sally
Ashton, Poet Laureate of Santa
Clara and Najia Karim.

March 14, 2013, 7pm
Room 225/229
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library,
San Jose - 150 E. San Fernando St.

Free and open to the public
Sponsored by the Poets & Writers Coalition,
Middle East Studies, Dept. of
English & Comparative Literature,
Poetry Center San Jose, Center for Literary Arts.

March 5th, 2013, 6pm
Anniversary Reading and Conversation:
Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here

Join the San Francisco Center for the Book and Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition Director Beau Beausoleil for an Anniversary Reading and Conversation. The evening will offer programming over three hours and will include readings by poets and writers, a film screening as well as the exhibition of fifty-four artists books.

Readers for the March 5th Reading include:
Esther Kamkar Persis Karim David Sullivan Sas Colby Kazim Ali Beau Beausoleil Julie Bruck

Date:  Tuesday, March 5, 2013
: 6:00 - 9:00pm
Location:  SF Center for the Book | 375 Rhode Island Street | San Francisco, CA 94103 | MAP

Esther Kamkar explores harvest poetry with Gateway Middle School's elective students
Santa Cruz, October 12, 2012

Esther Kamkar was off to Santa Cruz this weekend as part of Gateway's Middle School Elective program to inspire their students in Gateway's Life Lab Garden.

The GATEWAY Middle School Creative Writing Elective 2012-2013 is part of their Brown Bag Reading Series.

Gateway Middle School's elective students

Congratulations to
Beau Beausoleil and Deema Shehabi on their launch of 'Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here'

Berkeley ~ Sunday, July 29, 2012

Anthology: 'Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here'Poets and Writers Respond to the March 5th, 2007, bombing of Baghdad's "Street of the Booksellers"

"Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here has brought together a stellar group of authors to write about a time and place: the destruction of Baghdad's famed al-Mutanabbi Street, when on March 5, 2007, the cultural spaces of bookstores, libraries, and cafes frequented for centuries by the Iraqi literary community were bombed. This is a wonderful and exceptionally moving anthology and a compelling collection of poetic and historical merit." Susan Slyomovics, professor of anthropology and Near Eastern languages, UCLA

"The collection of materials in this anthology is astounding and harrowing. Beausoleil and Shehabi have put together a book that will be adored by lovers of poetry, essays, journalism, and testimony. It will also be required reading for anyone interested in social justice." Steven Salaita, associate professor of English, Virginia Tech University

More reviews of the anthology and purchase info from PM PRESS

Huffington Post Review
BetweenPages - Beau Beausoleil interview

San Francisco International Poetry FestivalEsther Kamkar reads with
Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition at
San Francisco International
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 4 to 5:00PM

Featuring Kenneth Wong, Dunya Mikhail, Elly Simmons, Sarah Menefee, Persis Karim, Esther Kamkar and Beau Beausoleil

We will be reading poems from our broadside project as well as work from our forthcoming anthology Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. Our reading will be in the heart of North Beach, just a block up from the legendary Cafe Trieste, and just a few blocks from City Lights Bookstore.

The reading will be at the
Live Worms Gallery
(a small art gallery) at 1345 Grant Avenue, between Green and Vallejo.
Poets Roger Sedarat and Esther Kamkar
2 Poets Reading:
Roger Sedarat and Esther Kamkar
San Mateo Public Library

Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 5:30PM

Esther Kamkar: Recipient of an Artist Grant from the Peninsula Community Foundation (2001) and a grant from the Clay and Glass Arts Foundation (2003) to conduct a series of workshops on poetry and handmade bookmaking for children in the Ecumenical Hunger Project in East Palo Alto. Esther Kamkar was born in Tehran, Iran and started writing poems in 1989. She is the author of Hum of Bees, Hummingbird Conditions, and A Leopard in My Pocket. Esther lives and writes in Palo Alto, CA.augue duis dolore te feugait nulla facilisi.

Roger Sedarat: is the author of Dear Regime: Letters to the Islamic Republic, which won Ohio UP's 2007 Hollis Summers Prize, and Ghazal Games (Ohio UP, 2011). His translations of classical and modern Persian verse have appeared in World Literature Today, Drunken Boat, and Asymptote. He teaches poetry and literary translation in the MFA program at Queens College, City University of New York. Rodger's website:

Free program, free parking. Space is limited so be there early!

Where: 1st Floor Laurel Room, San Mateo Public Library,55 West 3rd Avenue,San Mateo, CA 94402
When: Weds, May 23, 2012 — 5:30 PM
San Mateo Public LibraryMore Info: (650) 522-7845

Co-sponsored by the Iranian-American Library Advisory Committee of San Mateo Public Library and the Iranian-American Writers Association:

Mail Art in Open Stal ArtRoute
Oldeberkoop, the Netherlands

28 July - 16 August 2012

Open Stal is an artroute in the beautiful village Oldeberkoop in the north of the Netherlands. The artroute has a tradition of 40 years. Each year about 10.000 people visit the route to see the work of 40 to 50 artist who participate, inspired by the changing themes. This year's theme is Sign and Language.
Openstal website

For this exhibition Esther Kamkar has submitted 3 mixed-media collages, inspired by Librotraficante (a group of book smugglers who smuggle banned school books to Arizona) and ancient Aztec Codices which were painted on Amate bark.

Esther Kamkar's Mail Art submissions are shown below. Click image to see a larger version.

Arizona Codex I

Esther Kamkar - mixed media - Arizona Codex I - 2012

Arizona Codex II

Esther Kamkar - mixed media - Arizona Codex II - 2012

Arizona Codex III

Esther Kamkar - mixed media - Arizona Codex III - 2012

Event: 5th Anniversary of The Car Bombing of Al-Mutanabbi St
Gathering and Reading ~ March 2, 7:30PM at The Great Overland Book Co

In memory of the innocents killed by the March 2007 car bomb at Al-Mutanabbi Street in Baghdad, Iraq, where booksellers and book enthusiasts congregatedA gathering of the al-Mutanabbi Street "family" and a memorial reading.

Deema Shehabi
Esther Kamkar
Jose Luis Guiterrez Annemarie Munn
Bill Denham
Beau Beausoleil

Friday, March 2, 7:30PM
The Great Overland Book Company
345 Judah Street, San Francisco
(at Ninth Ave) CA 94122
415-664-0126 (MAP)
California authors, writers and poets Esther Kamkar, Mojdeh Marashi and Persis KarimFrom left: Esther Kamkar, Mojdeh Marashi, Persis Karim
Event: Poetry & Peace
with Esther Kamkar, Mojdeh Marashi
and Persis Karim

Co-sponsored by the Association of Iranian American Writers. This event is supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant received from the James Irvine Foundation.

Sunday, Feb 26, 2:00PM Saratoga Library
13650 Saratoga Avenue, Saratoga, CA 95070, 408-867-6126  (MAP)

Left: Esther Kamkar - Middle: Artwork 'Rites of Spring' by Shirindokht - Right: Shirindokht Nourmanesh

Readings by Esther Kamkar and Shirindokht Nourmanesh
December 11, 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM

San Jose Arts Exchange provides a voice and venue for international artists from Portugal, Iran, Korea, Germany, Kenya, Indonesia, Taiwan, Bosnia, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Japan.

:: Enjoy literary performances, poetry readings and art exhibits

Film Showing: the D.V.A. Production of 'The Chiang Mai Project'.
Holiday Sale Art, Books and CDs
Where: King Library, 150 E. San Fernando St., San Jose ~
Rooms 225 & 229  MAP
When: December 11, 2011 ~ 2:30 PM – 5:30 PM
More info: or

Sponsored by the Language & Arts Institute ~ Donations appreciated

Featured Reader, Esther Kamkar, Author of Hum of Bees, at the Main Gallery, Wednesday November 2, 7:00PM

Esther Kamkar will be featured reader
Not Yet Dead Poets Society
Main Gallery, Weds Nov 2, 7:00pm
The evening will be hosted by Casey FitzSimons and will be followed by open mic.

Where: Main Gallery, 1018 Main Street,  (NW corner of Middlefield & Main), Redwood City,  CA  94063   MAP
When: Wednesday November 2nd, 7:00PM to 9:00PM-ish
More Info: Phone (650) 701-1018
Note: The Not Yet Dead Poets Society reading series is held on the first Wednesday of each month ~ bring your poem for Open Mic.

Esther Kamkar - author and poetCome and enjoy this 2011 San Francisco LitCrawl event - 'The Sting of Truth'

Esther Kamkar
will read from her new book 'Hum of Bees' at the Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper venue. She will read with five other poets and authors as part of the San Francisco 2011 Lit Crawl 'Sting of Truth' event. Come and enjoy!

Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of In Praise of Falling, editor of Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall, and co-editor with Kim Addonizio, of Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos.

Christian Gullette’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in OCHO, Knockout, Pulsepoint, and the anthology Divining Divas. He is the assistant poetry editor of The Cortland Review.

Dorine Jennette is the author of Urchin to Follow (2010). Her work has appeared in places like Verse Daily, the Journal, and Puerto del Sol.

Esther Kamkar was born in Iran and lives and works in Palo Alto. Her new book Hum of Bees was published in June 2011.

Peter Kline’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Tin House, Poetry, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the 2010 Morton Marr Prize from Southwest Review.

Ryan Teitman is the author of the poetry collection Litany for the City, forthcoming from BOA Editions.

Where: Her Majesty’s Secret Beekeeper - 3520 20th, Suite C - San Francisco, CA - MAP
When: October 15, 7:15 to 8:15pm

Esther Kamkar will be Guest Poet at the Exiled Lit Cafe in London - Monday 6 June, 2011, 7:30PM

Esther Kamkar, Iranian American poet and authorThe Exiled Lit Cafe is part of Exiled Writers Ink, an organization that gives writers in exile a platform to expose their work to a wider audience, via seminars, workshops, conferences, interactive performances, schools and festivals.

Where: Exiled Lit Cafe (Poetry Cafe), 22 Betterton Street, London WC2 - MAP
When: Monday 6 June, 7:30PM
Details: First half - theme or person, then coffee!
Second half - open mic session
Cost: £4 or £2 for members.
Further info: visit Exiled Writers Ink website

Poets Yvonne Green, Colette Littman and Esther Kamkar
Left to right: Yvonne Green, Colette Littman and Esther Kamkar

Exiled Writers Ink, Spiro Ark and Harif present...


Spiro Ark Events Centre, London W1
Sunday 12 June, 2011 - 8PM

Three women poets with roots in the Middle East come together to read their work and discuss issues of identity, womanhood and their relationships with their countries of birth.

Esther Kamkar was born in Tehran, Iran. She has lived in the USA since 1973 and is on a special visit to London. Her collection of poetry is entitled Hummingbird Conditions (Ziba Press 2002) and her poetry has been widely published in numerous magazines and anthologies.

Yvonne Green's mother's family came to Boukhara in Central Asia 2,700 years ago to buy the silks for Solomon's Temple. A prize-winning poetess, journalist and essayist, Yvonne has read her poems on BBC Radio 4. Her first collection, The Assay, is shortly to enter its third edition. Her second collection -- a book of translations of the WW2 poet - revered in Russia but unknown in the West, - Semyon Lipkin, will be out in October 2011. In 2012 she will publish a book with Dr. Maisie Meyers about the lives of Shanghai's Iraqi Jews.

Colette Littman was expelled as a Jewish refugee from her native Egypt in 1956. As well as the publisher of the Littman Library of Jewish Civilisation, she is a talented poetess, winning Ist Prize in a National Poetry competition. The Spiro Ark has held a reading of her poetry and will schedule another later this year.

Chaired by Jennifer Langer of Exiled Writers Ink

Where: The Spiro Ark Centre, 25-26 Enford Street, London W1 H 1DW - MAP
When: SUNDAY 12 JUNE 2011, 8PM
Tickets: £8 from The Spiro Ark - Ph: 020 7723 9991, Fax: 0207 723 8191 or at the door.
Info: SpiroArk Events website - -

Poetry readings by Farnaz Fatemi, Esther Kamkar, Mojdeh Marashi, Shirindokht Nourmanesh and Persian music to inaugurate and celebrate the establishment of Persian & Iranian Studies at San Jose State University.

Where: Engineering Auditorium, San Jose State University - MAP
When: Thursday, March 10, 2011, 7:00pm
Free and open to the public

Photo "Darkness" by Bijan Mottahedeh

In celebration of International Women's Day and Support Women Artists Now Day, Golden Thread Productions presents an evening of poetry and performance.

(Darkness) is a collaboration in image and poetry that interprets the official crackdown against protesters in Iran following the contested 2009 presidential elections.

What Do The Women Say?As recently as these past few weeks, voices in Iran seeking to express both their discontent and their dreams have been answered with violence.

Concept and photography by Bijan Mottahedeh.
Poems by Esther Kamkar, Haleh Hatami and Bijan Mottahedeh.

Where: La Pena Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley - MAP
When: Tuesday, March 8, 2011, 7.30pm
Tickets: $10 - For bookings phone 510-849-2568 x20
More info: Golden Thread Productions

Expressions Gallery,
Friday Night, Nov 19

Literature, Poetry Readings & Open Mike
,  7-9pm

Featuring :   Muriel Karr and Esther Kamkar

2035 Ashby Ave. Berkeley, California, 94703 MAP 510.644.4930 - FREE

A Celebration of Persian Culture - Nov 7

persian musiciansMountain View Reads Together is an annual, city-wide celebration of one book that takes place in November. The Mountain View Reads Together 2010 book is the critically acclaimed Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, which is set in Iran.

You're invited to help us celebrate and enjoy the arts, music, dance, and culture of Iran.

Musicians performing Persian music
Literary readings by local authors
Performance by Shahrzad Dance Company
Works by Iranian-American artists
Traditional Persian foods

Date: Sunday, November 7
Time: 2:00-5:00pm
Place: Mountain View Public Library Community Room,
585 Franklin Street, Mountain View, CA 94041 MAP
650 903 6337

Reading: Al-Mutanabbi Street Opening - October 14, 5-7pm
With thanks to the Al-Mutanabbi Street Broadsides Project (Beau Beausoleil)

Al-Muttanabbi Street book stackReaders: Deema Shehabi, Bettina Pauly and Esther Kamkar

Where: The Tides Foundation in The Presidio, SF (MAP)
When: October 14th         Time: 5-7pm

Esther Kamkar (left) and Katayoon Zandvakili (right)

July 2010 Poets of the Month: Esther Kamkar and Katayoon Zandvakili, at the Levantine Cultural Center, Los Angeles

"The featured anthology for July 2010 is Let Me Tell You Where I've Been - New Writing By Women of the Iranian Diaspora, edited by Persis M. Karim with foreword by: Al Young (University of Arkansas Press).

This first anthology of writing by women of the Iranian diaspora features over one hundred selections of poetry, fiction and nonfiction from over fifty contributors. Through literature, the anthology explores the influences of history, revolution, war, exile, and immigration.

We present to you two poets from this wonderful collection, Esther Kamkar and Katayoon Zandvakili" -- Sholeh Wolpé

Read More

Encaustic Art by Esther Kamkar
A gallery of new encaustic paintings for your enjoyment. See them here

Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid/paste is then applied to a surface. Read more about the Encaustic process on Wikipedia

Artwork: © 2009 hadiheidari2000@yahoo.comOn Saturday, June 19, 2pm to 4.30pm, Esther Kamkar will join a group of fellow Iranian American poets, writers and musicians, in honor of Iran's imprisoned Writers, Journalists and Bloggers

This literary reading and musical performance marks the 1-year anniversary of the disputed Iranian Elections - with a special report on the status of those writers, journalists and bloggers who have fled Iran in fear of torture and execution.

Readings by: Massud Alemi :: Farnaz Fatemi :: Tissa Hami :: Esther Kamkar :: Persis Karim :: Beatrice Motamedi :: Shirindokht Nourmanesh :: Ari Siletz

Musical Performances by: Hossein Massoudi and Ramin Zoufonoun

When: Saturday, June 19, 2010, 2pm to 4.30pm
Where: Martin Luther King Jr. Library, San Jose, Room 225-229,
150 East San Fernando Street, San Jose 95112 -- MAP
Donations: $10 ($5 Students). Proceeds to benefit Iranian Refugees Alliance, Inc
For more info contact: Persis Karim (408) 924-4476 and Shirindokht Nourmanesh      Press Release    Facebook

Co-sponsored by: Kavosh Women's Organization, Martin Luther King Jr. Library, United4Iran, and Veesta Arts & Lectures.
Artwork: © 2009   
"To stay alive you must slay silence" - Simin Behbehan

Link to AIAW Home page Link to Iranian Refugees Alliance Inc

A House

Grows on my head
its hallways lead

into the ear canals
and cochleae

words you

in my ear
find their own

place in the house
and fit together

like Majolica tiles
in the whispering

room in Alhambra
no words break

into shards
to wound

even fragments

to infinity.

Reading - March 5, 2010, 7.30pm
3rd Anniversary of the Muttanabi Street Bombing - at The Great Overland Book Company, SF

Muttanabi Street Booksellers

Esther Kamkar and others will be reading for this event to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Muttanabi street bombing.

March 5, 2010
Time: Starts 7.30pm
Where: The Great Overland Book Company, 345 Judah St (between 8th Ave & 9th Ave), San Francisco, CA 94122 - MAP
Contact Info: (415) 664-012

Esther Kamkar published in London, UK Exiled Ink Magazine - Issue 12, Autumn/Winter 2009

Exiled Ink Magazine - Issue 12New innovative magazine reflects exciting, different voices in a new cultural environment. Content features literature, discussion and commentary. Exiled Ink is unique in providing an insight into dislocation and cultures of exile, both through the voices of exiled writers and through their literary work.

Conflict Zones - Sri Lanka

Poetry: R. Cheran, Thirumavalavan, Sivamohan Sumathy
Prose: Rohini Hensman
Articles: Sri Lankan Tamil Poetry - Rohini Hensman, Historical Background - Lakshmi Holmstrom

Poetry: Sholeh Wolpe, Esther Kamkar (Animals that We Are), Majid Naficy, Afshin Babzadeh, Reza Hiwa
Articles: Last Straw for Iranians - Fariba Marzban, Haleh Esfandiari - Claire Messud

Syria (Kurdish)
Poetry: Hussein Habash

Poetry: Mikhail Isin Eldin
Article: Apti Bisultanov - Sieglinde Geisel
Short Story: Tamara Islamova

Theatre Production and Script excerpts
Exiled Writers Ink National Mentoring and Translation Project
Poetry and Prose

Latin American Exile
Prose: Marta Raquel Zabelata Hinrichsen/ Alfredo Cordal
Poetry: Gisela Jachniuk

Exiled from Israel
Poetry: Haim Bresheeth

Writing Africa
Short Story: Fiston Mwanza
Poetry: Kiluanji Kush
Article: Caine Prize: Nisha Jones

Anthology of Somali Literature - review: Stephen Watts
Leaving Tangiers by Tahar Ben Jelloun - review: Albert Pellicer
Rooftops of Tehran by Sholeh Wolpe - review: Jeremy Edward Shiok
Like Myth and Mother by S. Sumathy - review: Lynette Craig

:: Contact Info and Website:

We Are All Iran: A Literary Reading to Mark the 6-month Anniversary of the Iranian Elections

      The June 12, 2009 Iranian presidential election put the international spotlight on Iran and the courageous acts of its citizens who filled the streets of Tehran to protest the election results. The days and weeks that followed June 12th--when ordinary citizens took to the streets to protest, to raise their voices-- inspired people around the globe..

       As the months have dragged on and media coverage has waned, the U.S. news headlines have refocused on Iran's nuclear ambitions--and by doing so have minimized the spirit and energy of the Iranian people in their efforts to challenge their government.

      To remember and bear witness to the extraordinary courage of the Iranian people, Bay Area writers from the Association of Iranian American Writers (AIAW) will share their literary work at the San Francisco Public Library.

     Bay Area poets and novelists will read from published and recent work and invite members of the community to share with us as we remember the courage and sacrifice of those in Iran struggling for democracy, human rights, and to have their voices heard.

Authors to read include:

  • Persis Karim (introduction)

  • Laleh Khadivi
  • Esther Kamkar
  • Elizabeth Eslami
  • Ari Siletz
  • Anahid Hojjati
  • Farnoosh Seifoddini
  • Tissa Hami
  • Katayoon Zandvakili
  • Angella Nazarian

Date: Saturday, December 12, 2009
Time: 2pm to 4pm
Where: San Francisco Public Library

Career Tip

From a 2009 Letter Addressed to Jamie Dimon , CEO of JP Morgan Chase

You tell your shareholders:
             This was perhaps our best year ever
And give them career tips:
             Keep a two-column to-do list
             and update it throughout the day —
                          things you owe people
                                        and things people owe you.

Consider these for your own list
in your pocket, Jamie Dimon —
things left behind, when people
are forced to leave their homes:
Empty prescription bottles
Hospital bed
Insulin needles
Tonka dump truck
Report card with As and Bs under a magnet
A pile of clothes hiding a small child’s artificial leg
Crayons scattered in the bedroom with the peeling princess mural
Wedding album discarded in the garage
Stack of unopened bills
Thomas the Train
“Get Rich in Real Estate” book

List after list
full of things and non-things.
Lists empty of things.

More new poems...

Reading by Authors from the Association of Iranian American Writers (AIAW) in conjunction with the Art Exhibit
One Day: A Collective Narrative of Tehran
at Intersection for the Arts, November 21, 2009

With a Musical Performance by Hossein Massoudi & Ramin Zoufonoun

Inspired by artwork from the One Day: A Collective Narrative of Tehran exhibit, Bay Area Iranian American writers will read recent and new works of poetry and prose....

Mojdeh Marashi
Esther Kamkar
Farnaz Fatemi
Parissa Ebrahimzadeh
Siamak Vossoughi
Nazy Kaviani
Zara Houshmand
Ari Siletz

....will read in the gallery at Intersection for the Arts.

The afternoon includes an added musical performance by Hossein Massoudi (singer and percussionist from the Persian-fusion band Aleph Null who will perform with Bay Area expert tar player Ramin Zoufonoun.

One Day: A Collective Narrative of Tehran features the work of eight artists living in Tehran, Iran Nima Alizadeh, Saba Alizadeh, Mohammad Ghazali, Ghazaleh Hedayat, Abbas Kowsari, Mehran Mohajer, Neda Razavipour, and Homayoun Sirizi alongside new work by San Francisco- based artist Taraneh Hemami -- this exhibition compiles a collective narrative of everyday Tehran, the largest city in the Middle East and the 16th most populated city in the world with close to 8 million residents.

Representing the current unpredictability of each day in Tehran and also the hope that comes from imagining a better future, the artists chronicle narratives of place and time, demystifying life in a country that has been misunderstood and maligned for decades.

Date: Saturday, November 21, 2009
Time: 2pm to 4:30 pm
Where: Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Tickets are available at the door. Sliding scale: $5-15
For more information: (415) 626-2787
The Intersection for the Arts -- Calendar

Esther Kamkar reading in concertEsther Kamkar reading at the 'Voice music from 10 composers' concert, San Francisco Community Music Center.

On October 3 San Francisco Community Music Center will perform Voice music from 10 composersthe San Francisco Community Music Center's Irregular Resolutions will perform the concert 'Voice music from 10 composers'.

Two of the featured performances will be by Ed Dierauf, composer of "Hummingbird Conditions" and "The Message" - a collaboration with Esther Kamkar who will read these poems, accompanied by Soprano Lisa Prosek and Pianist Patti Deuter.

Hummingbird Conditions for soprano & piano (Ed Dierauf)
The Message for soprano & piano (Ed Dierauf)

Saturday October 3, 2009
Time: 8pm
: San Francisco Community Music Center
544 Capp St, San Francisco, CA 94110-2586
(415) 647-6015 -- Directions
Admission: $5 for seniors and students, $10 for everyone else.

Esther Kamkar

Esther Kamkar
has been invited to read together with Charlotte Muse and Terry Adams of Waverley Writers, for the recording of the Live Poets Society TV show at the Palo Alto Media Center.

The recording date has been set for September 22 and the program is scheduled for broadcast sometime after this.

The regular host of the Live Poetsshow has also invited Esther to host her own one-time show and invite her own guests. This is scheduled for sometime in October. We'll keep you posted.

Mutanabbi Street - Baghdad, Iraq
Photo by Raya

Esther Kamkar and other contributors will read from the 'Mutanabbi Street Starts Here' Anthology (forthcoming 2009, Red Hen Press) to mark the 2nd anniversary of the Mutanabbi Street Bombing, Baghdad, Iraq.

Come and share an evening of poetry and prose written and read by poets and writers from Iraq and the USA.

Where: At the Great Overland Book Company
345 Judah St. San Francisco, CA (on the N Judah Line @ 9th)
When: 7.30pm, Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Contact: Phone (415) 664-0126 for further information.

Hosted by The Mutanabbi Street Coalition and Beau Beausoleil

Update from Esther:

"The reading was in a funky and lovely used-books bookstore in San Francisco, Borderline Books, the owner, Beau Beausoleil, is the originator of Mutanabbi Starts Here. About 30 people came up to the second floor, and ten people read what we were assigned to read...poets, writers and journalists' memories, or interpretation of the old booksellers street and the history of publishing, selling, underground publishing of banned books, the river that has witnessed destruction over and over...
It was a powerful reading night.  It was good to read another poet's work, it took me out of myself. I was glad I had listened to the poet reading 'my poem' in Arabic."

esther Kamkar - Iranian American Poet - Palo Alto - California

Esther Kamkar co-wins Poetry Fellowship 2008

Esther Kamkar (above) of Palo Alto and Sarah Phoenix of Redwood City were this year’s co-winners for the Richard Maxwell Fellowship in Poetry. Judges noted the competition of worthy poets made the decision difficult, even as they agreed on co-winners rather than a single winner.

The fellowship provides free access to all conference readings, workshops and seminars. Each winner will receive a signed copy of one book, dinner with faculty, and a feature in the open reading.

Association for Iranian-American Writers -
Panel Discussion & Day-Long Workshop

(To inaugurate the Association for Iranian-American Writers)

Esther Kamkar will be joining a panel discussion and
day-long workshop
at the following venue:
Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture
When: May 3, 2008, 9am – 5 pm
Where: University of California, Irvine
Humanities Instructional Building (HIB)100
This event is free and open to the public
For further information please contact: Nasrin Rahimieh, Professor UC Irvine, (949) 824-0406,

Esther Kamkar, Eddie Gale, Georgette GaleFrom left: Esther Kamkar, Eddie Gale, Georgette Gale

I was honored to be included, to read with the Inner Peace Orchestra's immensely talented musicians and Eddie's soulful trumpet, through his loving directions. Eddie Gale told the audience to pay attention to their own inner peace...without it there won't be peace in the world.

Nov 2007 - Concert for World Peace
Featuring the Inner Peace Orchestra
founded and directed by Eddie Gale

The performance will consist of music from the
Eddie Gale Library and poetry by Esther Kamkar
When: Saturday, November 17 2007, 7pm
Where: First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto
625 Hamilton Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301
For ticket info and enquiries call 650-323-6167

Esther Kamkar featured in Monterey Poetry Review
Spring 2007, Vol.3/No.1 "Childhood" edition
Read more here

Esther Kamkar poem appears in
"Joys of a Simple Meal" - Read it here

Anthology review in
Review by Jasmin Darznik here

Anthology review in Publishers Weekly
Read an excerpt here

January 28 - Persis Karim, Esther Kamkar and contributing authors - Pleasanton Library - Women of the Iranian Diaspora
Reading from the anthology Let Me Tell You Where I've Been.
When: Sunday, January 28, 2007, 2pm (Free)
Where: Pleasanton Public Library, 400 Old Bernal Ave, Pleasanton, CA94566.

February 2 - Waverley Writers Group with Esther Kamkar, Persis Karim and Farnaz Fatemi
Readings from the anthology Let Me Tell You Where I've Been edited by Persis Karim.
When: Friday, February 2, 2007, 7.30pm (Free)
Where: Waverley Writers Group, convening at the Friends' Meeting House, 957 Colorado Ave, Palo Alto.

November 29 - Esther Kamkar and contributing authors -
San Francisco Main Library - Enemy Nations, Emerging Voices

- a reading of two groundbreaking anthologies: Let Me Tell You Where I've Been and Literature from the Axis of Evil.
When: Wednesday, November 29, 6-8pm (Free)
Where: San Francisco Main Library Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco, Phone 415/557-4277

October 20 - Esther Kamkar and Persis Karim
Persian Excursion - Palo Alto Public Library - for all ages

A wonderful evening celebrating Iranian and Middle Eastern cultures with a reading by poets Esther Kamkar and Persis Karim (Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writings by Women of the Iranian Diaspora), a performance by members of the Niosha Dance Academy, and music by Ahl-i Nafs (People of the Spirit).
Persian refreshments will be served.
When: Friday, October 20, 7.30pm
Where: Palo Alto Main Library, 1213 Newell Rd, Palo Alto.
Phone: 650-329-2436

October 11 - Esther Kamkar and contributing authors
Let Me Tell You Where I've Been - Stanford University

When: Wednesday, October 11, 4pm
Where: Stanford University, 5th floor, Bender Room, Green Library.

August 25 - Esther Kamkar Poetry Reading -
Politics & Prose Book Shop

When: Friday, August 25, 7pm
Where: Politics & Prose, 5015 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20008, Toll Free: 1-800-722-0790

August 13 - Esther Kamkar & Nina Koepke - Poetic Images
A poetry and clay collaboration at The Main Gallery

When: Sunday, August 13, reading at 4pm
Where: The Main Gallery, 1018 Main Street Redwood City CA 94063 Phone: (650) 701-1018

July 18 - Esther Kamkar Poetry Reading -
Intersection for the Arts

When: Tuesday, July 18, 7.30pm
Where: Intersection for the Arts, 446 Valencia Street
Mission District SF, Tel: (415) 626-2787, ext. 106

June 26 - Persis M. Karim and Esther Kamkar on KALW 91.7 FM
Station: KALW 91.7 FM - worldwide webcast.
Topic: Poetry readings, talk, call-ins.
When: Monday, June 26, 10am

June 26 - Esther Kamkar Poetry Reading - Cody's Books
When: Monday, June 26, 7.00pm.
Cody's Books, 1730 Fourth Street in Berkeley,
Toll Free: 800-995-1180 or 510-559-9500

June 25 - Persis M. Karim & Esther Kamkar on the
KUSP Poetry Show with Dennis Morton and Mort Marcus
Station: KUSP
Topic: Poetry, anthology readings, talk.
When: Sunday, June 25, 8pm - 9pm.

June 22 - Esther Kamkar Poetry Reading - Kepler's Books
When: Thursday, June 22, 7.30pm.
Where: Kepler's Books & Magazines, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA, 94025. Tel: (650) 324-4321

June 21 - Esther Kamkar Poetry Reading - Capitola Book Café
When: Wednesday, June 21, 7.30pm.
Where: Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Avenue Capitola,
CA 95010. Tel: 831-462-4415

June 15 - Esther Kamkar Poetry Reading - City Lights
When: Thursday, June 15, 7pm.
Where: City Lights Book Store, 261 Columbus Avenue @ Broadway (North Beach), San Francisco. (Map) Tel + 415.362.8193

Mid-May -- Anthology Release
Anthology to be printed and shipped Mid-May 2006:
"Let Me Tell You Where I've Been" - new writing by women of the Iranian diaspora. With 3 poems by Esther Kamkar

Book collaboration
Carmela Rizzuto and Esther Kamkar
Hand-made book - "Lost and Found Again", 2005


Esther Kamkar, Palo Alto, California artist and poet. Poems, poetry, writing, published works - footer logo

– Poetry on Love and Longing – Poetry on Healing
– Poems on Hope and Despair – Poems on Politics
– Poems on Motherhood
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:: Logo woodcut by Barbara Leventhal-Stern
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