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Jazz Poetry 2024: Leslie DeShazor Quintet, Fatimah Asghar, Rania Mamoun, Andrés Neuman, & Jeremy Lee Stone

May 13 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT

Jazz Poetry 2024 welcomes some of the most incredible talents the Alphabet City stage has ever seen, including Fatimah Asghar, a South-Asian American Muslim writer with National Book Award and Emmy nominations; Deaf poet, storyteller and founder of ASL NYC Jeremy Lee Stone; Sudanese activist and City of Asylum writer-in-residence Rania Mamoun; and celebrated Argentinian poet and novelist Andrés Neuman, traveling all the way from Spain. Setting the tone for this third night of Jazz Poetry is acclaimed violinist Leslie DeShazor, who will make her debut at City of Asylum with an exciting quintet. 

Each Jazz Poetry program begins with a 40-minute performance by the band, followed by 30 minutes of collaborative performance with the featured poets. In these collaborations, poets share their work while the musicians interpret and accompany their poetry with jazz, adding a unique, improvisational dimension to each performance.

ASL interpretation will be provided by Heather Gray and Josh Stresing.

Featured Musicians:

Leslie DeShazor: viola/violin

Rob Skinner: bass

Demetrius Nabors: keys

Nate Winn: drums

Sasha Kashperko: guitar

About the Musician:

Leslie DeShazor is a violist/violinist named one of thirty Professional Movers and Shakers in the Performing Arts by Musical America in 2019. She is in demand as a soloist, teacher, and recording artist. Though classically trained, Leslie is a talented and diverse musician. As a soloist, she has performed with the Toledo Symphony. As a freelance artist she has performed with The Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre Orchestra, Michigan Sinfonietta, CutTime Simfonica, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and more, as well as jazz ensembles like the Detroit-based, Musique Noire and Straight Ahead. She has performed and recorded with international, Grammy award-winning R&B stars, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Kem, Aretha Franklin, Grammy award-winning gospel artists Fred Hammond, Michael W. Smith, and Donnie McClurkin. She has also had the pleasure of performing with jazz greats such as Roy Hargrove, Steve Wilson, Sheila Jordan, Diane Schuur, Regina Carter, Xavier Davis, and Marcus Belgrave. An experienced instructor, she currently teaches students of Detroit with instructional music programs offered through the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Sphinx Organization, and her own private studio. 

About the Poets:

Fatimah Asghar is a South-Asian American Muslim poet, screenwriter, educator, and performer. Fatimah cares less about genre and instead prioritizes the story that needs to be told and finds the best vehicle to tell it. They are the author of If They Come For Us (One World, 2018), the lyrical novel, When We Were Sisters (One World, 2022), an exploration of sisterhood, orphaning, and alternate family building which was longlisted for the National Book Award, and the chapbook After (Yes Yes Books, 2015). Along with Safia Elhillo, they co-edited Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019), an anthology for Muslim people who are also women, trans, gender non-conforming, and/or queer. The anthology was built around the radical idea that there are as many ways of being Muslim as there are Muslim people in the world. They are the writer and co-creator of Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights friendship among women of color. They also served as a co-producer for Ms Marvel on Disney+ and wrote the episode “Time and Again.” Their episode was listed on The New York Times and Hollywood Reporter’s best episodes of 2022 list. In 2017, they were a recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and listed on Forbes’s 30 under 30 list.

Rania Mamoun is a Sudanese activist and bestselling writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.  She completed Something Evergreen Called Life, a poetry manuscript written during COVID-19 quarantine, translated into English by Yasmine Seale and published by Action Books in March 2023. Rania has published two novels to great international acclaim, Green Flash and Son of the Sun, and Thirteen Months of Sunrise, a short story collection which was shortlisted for the 2020 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Rania continues to organize for democracy in Sudan. Her writing has appeared in English, Korean, French, and Spanish translation. She is a writer-in-residence at City of Asylum since 2019.

Andrés Neuman was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he spent his childhood. The son of Argentine émigré musicians, he grew up and lives in Granada, Spain. He has taught Latin American literature at the University of Granada and was selected as one of Granta’s “Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists.” His novel Traveler of the Century won the Alfaguara Prize and the National Critics Prize. His novel Talking to Ourselves was longlisted for the Best Translated Book Award, and shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. His collection of short stories The Things We Don’t Do won the Firecracker Award for fiction, given by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses with the American Booksellers Association. His most recent titles translated into English are the novels Fracture, Bariloche, and Once Upon Argentina. A widely celebrated poet, he is the author of numerous collections of poems. He has received the Federico García Lorca Poetry Prize, the Antonio Carvajal Young Poetry Prize and the Hiperión Poetry Prize. Love Training (Selected poems 2000-2020) is the first volume to make his poetry available in English. His books have been translated into twenty-five languages.

Jeremy Lee Stone, a native of Harlem, New York, was born Deaf, and from that silence, he has amplified a powerful message. Fluent in American Sign Language, he is on a mission to showcase ASL as the language of the future, proving that the future is here and now. Recognizing the need for broader understanding and acceptance, Jeremy founded ASL NYC, a groundbreaking ASL class. Venturing into the entertainment industry, he has become a sought-after ASL Consultant. Through his work, he aims to redefine perceptions of deafness and seamlessly integrate it into mainstream consciousness. Beyond his professional endeavors, Jeremy finds joy in crafting stories through the fluid motions of his hands, bringing his visions to life in a captivating tapestry of expression.

About Your Visit: 

Doors open at 6pm. 

The in-house restaurant 40 North is open for dinner from 5-9pm. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

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May 13
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm EDT
Program Categories:


City of Asylum
(412) 435-1110
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Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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