D.H. Melhem

D.H. Melhem
New York

Recent works: New York Poems, 2005; Conversation with a Stonemason, 2003; Poems for You (chapbook), 2000; A Different Path (co-editor), 2000; Country, 1998; Children of the House Afire, 1976 (musical production, 1999); Rest in Love, 1995, 1978, 1975; Blight, 1995; Heroism in the New Black Poetry, 1990; Gwendolyn Brooks: Poetry and the Heroic Voice, 1987

Favorite Writers: Franz Kafka, Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Gwendolyn Brooks, Etel Adnan.

Quote: What inspires me? A conviction that, as James Jackson Putnam expressed it, “history, at bottom, is an account of the efforts…to find freedom and show love,” and that, as Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote in A Defence of Poetry, “the great instrument of moral good is the imagination.” The growing interest in the field of Arab–American literature is most encouraging—witness the work of poet/critics like Lisa Suhair Majaj and Nathalie Handal, publications like Al Jadid and Mizna, organizations like ADC and RAWI. Politically, I am imbued with American ideals and yet internationally oriented—not surprising, given my positive family experience of diversity. My favorite quotation is a line from “The Eolian Harp,” a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge: “O the one Life within us and abroad.” I believe that.

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