Libraries, Literature, Loss

Paris kept me busy these past few months. Family reasons and personal studies brought me there, but sadness struck with the passing of my beloved aunt Najia (bsmillah). She's deeply missed, especially by my uncle Serge who's heartbroken. I spent her final days with her and Serge at the hospital.

On a brighter note, I participated in a few Anglophone/expat reading events around town. European audiences are fantastic - really engaged and enjoyable. Plus, I managed to sell a few books, which was a nice surprise.

Studied at Richelieu and Mitterand national libraries of France. Also got to see both my brothers... in Paris and in Marrakech!

Overall, a bittersweet experience. Loss is never easy, but finding connection through literature and supportive readers overseas offered a welcome balance.

A few photos below, but more on my insta


Clouds ate the top of the Tour Eiffel with the original Statue of Liberty on the Isle des Cygnes in front.

Sacré Coeur by night.

BnF Mitterand hallway

Research halls at BnF Mitterand

Courtyard of BnF Richelieu

Othmane and I in Marrakech

Cast of Marquis de Sade's skull and actual manuscript of 120 Days of Sodom composed in the Bastille.

Poetry Out Loud San Luis Obispo County Finals

I am proud to announce my participation as a judge for the upcoming San Luis Obispo County Poetry Out Loud finals. It is my belief that studying poetry in school is valuable, but fostering a personal connection with the art of composing poems is an even more enriching modality of empowerment. Therefore, serving as a judge in this competition is an honor.

Poetry Out Loud is a national program that empowers high school students by encouraging them to memorize and recite classic and contemporary poems. It provides them with a unique opportunity to develop their public speaking skills, deepen their understanding of language, and connect with the power of words.

I am excited to witness the talent and dedication of the students competing in the finals. They have undoubtedly put in a lot of hard work to prepare, and my fellow judges and I are eager to hear them share their passion for poetry.

During my youth, I immersed myself in English, American, Senegalese, Cameroonian, and French literature. My graduate studies further expanded my understanding, encompassing classical Arabic poems, Spanish odes, and contemporary Moroccan poetry. I have actively participated in, organized, and witnessed poetry readings of all kinds from private salon readings to workshops, regional festivals, and worldwide slam competitions.

As a judge, I will be seeking students who demonstrate a clear understanding of the poems they recite, coupled with the ability to connect with the audience through their performance. Passion for poetry and the ability to convey it to others are qualities I will highly value.

Poetry Out Loud is a remarkable program with the potential to profoundly impact young lives. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it and look forward to helping select the next San Luis Obispo County champion.

Click the graphic for more info:

san luis obispo poetry out loud county finals


San Luis Obispo County Poet Laureate

I was born in San luis Obispo and rerooted here 14 years ago. I have some fierce plans for the future of poetry in our beautiful County. Therefore, it would be my utmost honor to receive your nomination for SLO County Poet Laureate. This will be a lot of fun and involve a lot of people; anyone who wants to pitch in with some great new hands-on creative projects.

Here is my open letter to the SLO County Arts Council. My work and publications are here. Books here.

I am a passionate and creative writer with a deep love for the Central Coast of California. I have been writing poetry for over 40 years, and my work has been published in both literary journals and online publications. I am also an active member of the local arts community, and I have served as a judge for several poetry competitions.

I believe that the role of the Poet Laureate is to promote poetry and literature in our community. I would use my position to:

  • Host poetry readings and workshops throughout the county.
  • Create a website and social media presence to promote poetry in SLO County.
  • Work with local schools and libraries to develop poetry programs for children and young adults.
  • Mentor aspiring poets.
  • Represent SLO County at poetry events and festivals around the state.

I am committed to using my skills and experience to make poetry accessible to everyone in SLO County. I believe that poetry is a powerful tool for communication, and I am passionate about sharing the joy of poetry with others.

I would be a great SLO County Poet Laureate because I am:

  • A passionate and creative writer
  • Experienced in promoting poetry and literature
  • Committed to making poetry accessible to everyone
  • A strong advocate for the arts

I am confident that I can make a positive impact on the SLO County arts community. It would be my privilege to serve as your Poet Laureate.

Zany Off Broadway Production

 It is NOT what it sounds like. Yes this is a wacky and hugely fun and entertaining rock n roll musical play written by Dick Zigun the former Mayor of Coney Island, yes the man who created the Mermaid Parade and many other fun activities that happen at Coney Island. AVT has a long history with Coney Island and the Film Festival at the Museum Theater and Freak Show Theater inside Coney Island USA.

The play is called Killin Republicans but it's not a vindictive against Republicans. It is a retelling of our country's politics and how some people can be crazy enough to want to assassinate a president. It also talks about our society and basically pokes fun at everything.

It takes place inside an airplane flying from London to NYC but gets rerouted to Washington DC. There's music, a live rock band, plenty of laughs, AND I AM THE CAPTAIN! So, fasten your seatbelts. I'm quite a ham it turns out.

Read the writeup here.


International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival

We took another great award at the International Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival last month. We received the honor of Best Experimental Film!



Bowery Film Festival

Our film DEMISE OF CONEY ISLAND was accepted to the Bowery Film Festival. Every chair is like a lazy boy recliner! Stunned at the opulence of movie theaters these days.