Esther Kamkar Events Archive

2O11 to 2O13

Click poem headings below to open and again to close each poem

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 the beautiful video above. 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 Festival
Esther 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 Karim
From 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 Kamkae

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