Samiya Bashir is the author of Field Theories (forthcoming in 2017 from Nightboat Books), as well Gospel (2009) and Where the Apple Falls (2005), which were both Lambda Literary Award finalists. She is also the author of the chapbooks Wearing Shorts on the First Day of Spring (1999), American Visa (2001), and Teasing Crow (2006).
Her poetry, stories, articles and editorial work have been featured in numerous publications most recently including Poetry, Drunken Boat, World Literature Today, Ecotone, HOAX, The Normal School, Poet Lore, Callaloo, and The Encyclopedia Project. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, including War Diaries (2010), Best Lesbian Erotica 03 (Cleis Press, 2002), Best of the Best Lesbian Erotica (Cleis Press, 2000), and the Cave Canem Anthology: VII(2002)
The poems in Gospel reference a diverse range of voices and traditions; Norse gods, Ghanaian call and response, and black gospel all contribute to an exploration of the sensual world. Blackademics reviewer Alexis Pauline Gumbs found the poems “inhabiting the tradition of black gospel music’s straddling contradiction, standing in the sacred and profane.” Gumbs further noted that the collection presents a “close look at the infinite places and moments when the human body meets despair, pleasure and transcendence.”
A long-time communications professional focused on editorial, arts, and social justice movement building, Bashir is a founding organizer of Fire & Ink, an advocacy organization and writer’s festival for LGBT writers of African descent. She is also the editor of Black Women’s Erotica 2 (2003) and co-editor of Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art (2002), with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana.
Bashir is the recipient of several awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the NEA, the University of California (where she served as a poet laureate), the Astraea Foundation, the National League of American Pen Women, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Soul Mountain Retreat, The Austin Project, Alma de Mujer, the James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Cave Canem, among others. She was a recipient of the 2011 Aquarius Press Legacy Award, given annually in recognition of women writers of color who actively provide creative opportunities for other writers.
Bashir currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing at Reed College.
Samiya Bashir’s books of poetry: Field Theories (Spring 2017), Gospel, and Where the Apple Falls, and anthologies, including Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art, exist.
Sometimes she makes poems of dirt.
Sometimes zeros and ones.
Sometimes variously rendered text.
She lives in Portland, Ore, with a magic cat who shares her obsession with trees and blackbirds and occasionally crashes her classes and poetry salons at Reed College.
Select Recent Readings + Presentations
&Now (CalArts), Yari Yari Ntoaso (Ghana), Split This Rock Poetry Festival (DC), AWP (Various), Fire & Ink Festival for LGBT Writers of African Descent (Co-founder: Chicago / Austin / Detroit), Joe’s Pub (NYC), Museum of Contemporary Craft (Portland), Museum of Performance & Design (San Francisco), Studio Museum, Mepfestival (Netherlands), More + More
| 2016 |
- "M A P S :: a cartography in progress," Clockhouse Journal, Vol. 4, 2016
- "Field theories," "Notions of temperature," "Sometimes in a body," "Sore broken in the place of dragons," and "You don't have to pump the breaks you just gotta keep your eyes on the road," Drunken Boat, #24
- "Synchronous Rotation," Portland Monthly
- “Blackbody Curve,” Poetry Magazine
- "Paleontology," and "Third Law," The Offing Magazine
- "When I Say Radiation I Mean Light That You Cannot Contain," Tuesday; An Art Project, Issue 6:2
- "Silt, Soot, and Smut," collaboration with Alison Saar, LA Louver Gallery
| 2015 |
- “A Small Matter of Engineering,” Ecotone Magazine
- "Upon such rocks," Bone Bouquet, Issue 6.2
- "Ha ha ha n*gg*rs are the worst," Nepantla, Issue #2
- “We call it dark matter because it doesn’t interact with light,” “Atoms in Motion,” “Five Tips for Looking Your Best Through Civil Unrest,” “Quadratic Equation,” The Normal School
- “SOMETIMES KATE GORMAN EMAILS ME,” Hoax
| 2014 |
- “Consequences of the Laws of Thermodynamics,” “Carnot Cycle,” Poetry Magazine
- “Quantum Mind Hypothesis,” “Conservation of Energy,” and “Particle ∴ Wave,” Eleven Eleven
- “Renewal of the Holy Fire,” Cascadia Review
| 2013 |
- “Synchronous Rotation,” “A Minor Goddess of Magic,” “Quantum Reflection,” “Chuck Truck,” Hubbub
- “Zeroth Law,” “White Body Radiation,” World Literature Today
| 2012 |
- “Coronagraphy,” Poet Lore (2013 Pushcart Prize Nominee)
- “Relation Between a Planet and Its Star,” Michigan Quarterly Review
- “Planck’s Law,” Crab Orchard Review
- “Thin Filament Pyrometry,” Cura: A Literary Magazine of Art & Action
- “Stabilimentum,” “Transparent to Visible Light,” Rumpus Original Poetry Anthology
| 2011 |
- MFA — Creative Writing, Poetry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
- “Transparent to Visible Light,” The Rumpus
- Hopwood Poetry Award, The Hopwood Program at the University of Michigan
- Helen S. and John Wagner Prize for Poetry, The Hopwood Program at the University of Michigan
- Aquarius Press Legacy Award
| 2010 |
- Best American Nonrequired Reading, ed. Dave Eggers
- NEA Writer in Residence, Virginia Center for Creative Arts
- “Waiting on the Reading,” and “When the saints went,” “Catch,” Poetry Foundation dot org
| 2009 |
- Gospel: poems (Finalist: Lambda Literary Award / Hurston-Wright Legacy Award)
- “Stabilimentum,” The Rumpus
- Writer in Residence, Virginia Center for Creative Arts
- Cave Canem Scholar, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley
| 2008 – |
- Writer in Residence, Soul Mountain Writers Colony
- “Making Black Eyed Peas,” Callaloo
- James Cody Scholar, James Dick Foundation for Performing Arts, Poetry at Round Top Festival
- Multi-media online collaborative installation, Pënz (it’s pronounced pants)
- Where the Apple Falls: poems (Finalist: Lambda Literary Award)
- Cave Canem Fellow
- Lesbian Poetry Award, Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
- BA — University of California, Berkeley, magna cum laude, Poet Laureate