Background


I was born in Egypt and moved to Oklahoma as a kid; I grew up in the sprawling Midwest and recently moved back there from Canada, Montreal to Minneapolis. I went to college in Michigan, Ohio, and completed my BA at Eugene Lang, New School for Social Research in New York City and later earned an MA at OISE-UT in Toronto. So much moving has made “place” a most deeply coveted and elusive axis of identity, as race or gender—a most complex calculation of to what, where, and whom I belong. I am a poet and performance artist interested in issues of identity, modernity, belonging, and the limits of language in capturing human experience, and recently, the place of nature in defining and transforming all that. Beyond farm market, gas station, and the like, I've professionally worked in education and in the arts, currently directing programming for the Arab arts organization Mizna. Throughout, for nearly 15 years I've actively participated in literary, performative, and interdisciplinary circles and events in the US and Canada through my own work and curating and supporting others'. My performance poetry show Habib Albi is... Not a Man, about romance, gender, and Arab-American identity in the Midwest in light of 9/11, has played at established venues in New York, Toronto, and Montreal, where in September 2011 it was commissioned as the MAI's season-opener in 10-year critical commemoration of 9/11. My recent and on-going Great Lakes work has developed through the generous awards of a 2013 Pillsbury House Naked Stages grant, a 2014 commission for a participatory installation at the Northern Spark art festival, and a 2015 specialized Joyce Foundation fellowship which allowed me to circle the region for four months, researching, writing and creating other new material, and partnering with diverse organizations on public events.

Contact me at mohebsolimanmohebsoliman@gmail.com