By Connor Bell

Voices from different countries were heard in the Kahwa wa Kutub’s meeting on Thursday night.

The poetry club’s small event was held in the library of Queen Anne’s Hall where there was a roundtable discussion on packets of poetry from the seven majority-Muslim countries affected by the Trump administration’s travel ban.

The discussion was very informal with coffee, cookie and tea breaks in between poem readings. Everyone introduced themselves before the poems were read, so by the time the event was over, it was as if everyone in the room knew each other.

Mona Rezvani, a recent graduate from this university, led the meeting as part of Kahwa wa Kutub. She personally researched these poems and organized them into a packet that everyone read at the meeting.

Once a poem was read, the whole room fell silent to let the words on the paper resonate for a few minutes before beginning the discussion.

“I thought it was really interesting to read people’s thoughts on paper,” said senior bioengineering major Nadia Alam. “They don’t always show that on the news, with poetry you see people’s feelings.”

The poems read were written by people from various backgrounds, including a poem by Amal Al-Jubouri titled “Honor After The Occupation.”

This one resonated most with everyone in the room because it made a reference to America’s wall, although the discussion could not pin down what wall the author meant specifically. Other lines in the poem included “cursing a dictator” and “forsaking the party.”

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Rezvani said this was the first time she led an official club event for Kahwa wa Kutub, but was pleased with the results of the night.

“How often do we recognize that we aren’t aware of a certain people and actually try to change that?” Rezvani said. “Exposure to something that makes you uncomfortable or something that you are not aware about is why for Kahwa wa Kutub exists.”

Rezvani said Kahwa wa Kutub is always open to new members who want to meet and discuss poetry during these times and encouraged people to come to the meetings. Interested students can join their group by typing in the club name on Facebook and requesting to join.

Featured Photo Credit: Mona Rezvani, organizer of this event, gives background on how the event came to be and how it is relevant. (Heather Kim/Bloc Photographer)

Connor Bell is a junior journalism major and can be reached at cbell56@terpmail.umd.edu.

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