Artists Network, Blog

N4 Artist Darrell Bourque’s Until We Talk uses jazz-inflected ghazal poetry to highlight the tragic losses for contemporary Israeli and Palestinian families

Tragedy is everywhere these days, nowhere more so than in Israel and Palestine. N4 Cofounder Darrell Bourque takes on tragedy in an unexpected way – poetry.

Until We Talk is a set of jazz-inflected ghazals using epigraphs from N4 President Colum McCann’s award-winning novel Apeirogon, alongside Bill Gingles’ abstract expressionist paintings. Bourque’s poems braid the tragic losses in contemporary Israeli and Palestinian families with losses in geo-political race, ethnic, class, and caste conflicts.

Until We Talk concerns tragedy, but maintains a spirit of hope thanks to Bourque’s chosen medium for poetic expression. Ghazal is a form of spiritual and romantic poetry originating in Arabic cultures that covers both the pain of loss, and the beauty of love despite the pain.

Bourque was our first Empathy Award winner in 2022, and also presented Terry Tempest Williams with the second last year. Bourque is also professor emeritus of English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, served as a Louisiana Poet Laureate, and received the Louisiana Book Festival’s Writer Award and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Humanist of the Year Award.