A Geniza Raphael Rubinstein

Thursday 2 June 2016

Scottish Poetry Library
5 Crichton’s Close,

Booking is through the Scottish Poetry Library via Eventbrite

Taking place at the Scottish Poetry Library Raphael Rubinstein will introduce and read his fragment-poem A Geniza, recently published in an elaborately produced limited edition by Granary Books in New York.

A Geniza uses numerous quotations and translations to evoke the 20th century Cairo of poet Edmond Jabès, singers and actresses Umm Kalthoum, Asmahan and Leila Mourad, and various other historical figures, with glances at the reality of present-day post-revolution Egypt. Inspired by Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman’s book, Sacred Trash: the Lost and Found World of the Cairo Geniza, the poem takes its form from the chaotic archive of manuscripts accumulated over centuries in a storeroom of an ancient Cairo synagogue.

The poem also concerns itself with the idea of the fragment in modernist writing of Walter Benjamin, Maurice Blanchot and Jabès, with what happens to architecture and neighbourhoods as the society around them is transformed, and with Jewish-Arab history. This reading of A Geniza will occur in a random, never-to-be-repeated sequence.

Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop members will receive the concession rate for this event.

The reading is in partnership with the Scottish Poetry Library and coincides with Raphael’s exhibition The Miraculous at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop which runs from 4 June to 31 August 2016.

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Raphael Rubinstein is a New York-based poet and art critic whose poetry collections include The Basement of the Café Rilke (Hard Press) and The Afterglow of Minor Pop Masterpieces (Make Now). In 2014, The Song Cave published The Cry of Unbalance, a chapbook pairing poems by Rubinstein with drawings by Trevor Winkfield. He is a Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston and an occasional Curator.