Discover more from Artists + Residents | Arab American National Museum
nature poems, coffee shops, and teaching workshops
end of residency thoughts, teaching poetry workshops, and a top 10 list of food
before I begin
Syria and Turkey are still dealing with the effects of the earthquakes from a few weeks ago. Please consider supporting and donating to the organizations that need it, if you can. Some organizations to consider: Syrian American Medical Society, The White Helmets, and/or the Turkish Red Crescent (Türk Kızılay), to name a few.
about the residency
This month is one I’ve been looking forward to, and it exceeded my expectations! Everything was better than I could have dreamed. I’ve had such a lovely time getting to know the staff and working and living in Dearborn/Detroit. I haven’t dreamt of “being a poet” for a long time, if that makes sense. It was always a thing I did for myself. But my time as a resident at the AANM has shown me a life where I can prioritize poetry and art. I’m grateful I was given the time and space to work on my poetry, make mistakes, and develop a clearer understanding of who I want to be and how I want to live in this world. This project has also reignited my love for nature, to respect it and help support those who can best protect it and care for it. I also really want to plan a trip to Lebanon now.
I’ve also had the pleasure of teaching a few poetry writing workshops to students who visited AANM. I was a little trepidatious going into it, as I had never taught a workshop before, but it went better than I expected. It was great fun to introduce younger students to poetry. We talked about poems, nature, and symbolism, among other things. I loved seeing their creativity as they wrote their own poems. I thought I would share some of the poems I selected for the workshops.
Olive Tree by Lisa Suhair Majaj
Every day as a wide field, every page by Naomi Shihab Nye
A Memory of Us by Safia Elhillo
the food scene
Amanda Ekhry, the resident before me, shared a huge (and very helpful list!) of places she enjoyed eating at. I would like to do the same, albeit on a much smaller scale. Here’s my top 10 places I visited, in no particular order.
Nizam Pastry - My favorite Lebanese dessert is maamoul, so that’s mostly what I got from here and it was so good I nearly cried.
Qahwah House - I visited both locations and had Turkish coffees, Yemeni lattes, and the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. The East Dearborn location was so cozy!
Romantica Cafe - I tried Yemeni coffee (jubani) here for the first time my second day in Dearborn, and it was such a lovely experience.
Haraz - It was dangerous having this coffee shop close to the museum. I spent a lot of money here and do not regret it. Although I don’t usually go for lattes, I loved the pistachio latte (lightly sweetened). The za’atar croissant was also really good.
Al Chabab - The best falafel sandwich I had during my stay here — it tasted super fresh and had mint, which really elevated it. My sister and I shared a HUGE bowl of fattoush, courtesy of the owner, who was so kind!
Al Tayeb - We ordered a TON of food here — all of the breakfast classics and then some. I’ll be dreaming about this meal for awhile.
Al-Saada Bakery - This quickly became my happy place. There is no better feeling than walking home on a sunny day with steaming hot za’atar man’ouche and spinach fatayer. They also had kaak, which I haven’t had since my baba visited Lebanon a few years ago.
Galata Sweets - I took friends here twice, and it was such a great experience! We drank Turkish coffee and ate way too many sweets!
Dearborn Fresh - I basically lived off the deli items during my time here. So good; so convenient, something I’ll miss when I’m back in Oklahoma.
Sheeba - I tried a veggie Yemeni stew here for the first time, and it was so warming and tasty. The fries and tandoor bread here were also very good.
where to find me + a BIG thank you!
The AANM is always going to be a special place for me, and I plan on returning to see everything the museum is doing this coming year. No matter what path my life takes, I’ll always be a writer, whether of poetry or other forms. I’ve had such a fun, productive time here, and want to extend a huge thank you to the entire staff for all their help with research, workshops, and writing, and for just being really cool people to talk to.
If you’re interested in staying connected and seeing what I’m up to, give me a follow on Instagram, where I’m most active! You can also take a look at my website at hanasaad.weebly.com.