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Press Release for Tuesday, February 19, 2013

UNF Blues and Muslim Call to Prayer Lecture Kicks Off Poetic Voices

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Associate Director 


Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

The University of North Florida and the Jacksonville Public Library will kick off the “Poetic Voices of the Muslim World,” a traveling exhibit and series of programs presenting the varied poetic transitions of the Muslim world, with Blues and the Muslim Call to Prayer lecture at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 2, in the Adam W. Herbert University Center, Building 43, Banquet Hall, on campus.

Through images and recordings, award-winning historian Dr. Sylviane Diouf of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture , illustrates how the blues, which originated in the American South, may have evolved from the techniques of the recitation of the Qur’an and the call to prayer in West Africa. Diouf will lecture and play early blues recordings side-by-side with African recordings of the call to prayer. Alamiromar “Omar” Zeinelabin, a UNF freshman and member of the Isalmic Center or Northeast Florida, will give the call to prayer, also known as Adhan, which is called out in the mosque five times a day, summoning Muslims for mandatory prayers.

The Jacksonville Public Library , in partnership with UNF and the Istanbul Cultural Center of Jacksonville , will host “Poetic Voices of the Muslim World,” beginning March 2, and running through Saturday, June 15. Jacksonville was one of six cities in the U.S. chosen to host “Poetic Voices of the Muslim World,” a national initiative that celebrates poetry with scholar presentations, dialogue, visual art, music and performance.

A large, 18-panel exhibit will be on display at the Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd., from March 2 through Saturday, April 27, and at the Main Library, 303 Laura St. N., from Wednesday, May 1, through Saturday, June 15. The lushly-illustrated exhibit highlights poetic traditions from four major language areas—Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Urdu—and introduces poetry from Asia, Africa and diaspora communities in the U.S. Designed by RAA Associates, the exhibit features photography, calligraphic masterworks and poetry from Adonis to Rumi.

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World encompasses a series of programs that include lectures, movies, performances, hands-on arts and crafts, music programs, cultural art demonstrations, documentary and book discussions, as well as activities for children, teens and adults. All programs are free; however, reservations are requested for some programs. Visit for more information and reservations or contact Lisa Brown Buggs, Jacksonville Public Library, at (904) 630-4655.

Poetic Voices of the Muslim World” is presented by Poets House and City Lore , in partnership with the American Library Association and the Jacksonville Public Library along with the public libraries in Los Angeles, Detroit, Milwaukee, Washington, D.C. and Queens, N.Y. Funded by the Bridging Cultures Program of the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor, with additional support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

The Jacksonville Public Library provided more than 11,000 programs and services last year to Duval County residents at the Main Library and 20 branch locations. Nearly 4.5 million people visited Jacksonville Public Libraries and checked out almost 8.5 million items. For more information about the Jacksonville Public Library, call (904) 630-BOOK (2665) or visit .

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.