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The Poet and Suleika: A West-Eastern Dialogue in Poetry and Music

British Library, 23 May

with Nujoom Alghanem, Paul Farley and Don Paterson reading poetry from A New Divan and Simon Wallfisch singing Hafiz and Goethe Lieder, accompanied by Craig White

 Gingko’s two new volumes, A New Divan – A lyrical dialogue between East & West and a new annotated translation of the complete West-Eastern Divan, including Goethe’s original ‘Notes and Essays for a Better Understanding’, were launched at an evening of poetry and music at the British Library on 23 May.

‘The Poet and Suleika’ was the first of a series of events celebrating the publication of Gingko’s A New Divan, and featured three prominent participants this ambitious project: Don Paterson, one of Scotland’s greatest contemporary poets, writers and musicians; the Emirati poet and filmmaker Nujoom Alghanem, who wrote a modern version of the love duet between Suleika and Hatem; and Paul Farley, who produced the English version of the Raoul Schrott’s poem ‘suleika spricht’. This lyrical dialogue between East and West was matched by a musical one, with Hafiz poems, set to music by 20th century German composers Gottfried von Einem, Viktor Ullmann and Richard Strauss, and Goethe Lieder sung by Simon Wallfisch accompanied by Craig White.