Happy / Rageful / Still-Freedom-Seeking Juneteenth Y'all!

Y'all! It was so great to join Alison Stewart's convo this morning on #poetry, #pride, #hiphop, and more and more and more. Some great questions by Alison Stewart, and a bit of poetry by me and by Ladan Osman, author of my Poem-a-Day selection for today. From Juneteenth to PRIDE & beyond today on All of It with Alison Stewart on WNYC + also a CAT guest appears!

  • Check the conversation here:

https://www.wnyc.org/story/new-poem-day

  • Check Ladan Osman’s poem, “The scalps of the women with the best prophecies are dry this season” & hear the poet read it herself!

https://poets.org/poem/scalps-women-best-prophecies-are-dry-season

  • Check the rest of my Poem-a-Day selections for June — trust me: you don’t want to miss a thing!

https://poets.org/poem-a-day

Guest Editor Samiya Bashir takes Poem-a-Day in Exciting New Directions!

The Academy of American Poets invited twelve guest editors to each curate a month of poems in 2019. In this short Q&A, Samiya Bashir, the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor for June 2019, discusses her curating approach and her own creative work.

Poets.org: How did you approach curating Poem-a-Day for June?

Samia Bashir: June is Fight the Filthy Fly Month so: poems. This clockchoked world. I approached it like a hungry bobkitten, yellow-eyes narrowed into the new-long light. I sniffed Juneteenth’s fleeting sorta-freedom for poems. I kitten-paw creeped June’s choreography of prideful queerity and found, of course, poems. Half-roar, half-purr, I slunk around, drunk on poem time. I sipped and supped and dreamt luminous poem after luminous poem. These sunkissed women and femmes whose magic and trust curved and starburst space! Look out! So very much more light remains as residue. I mean, freedom’s always so temporary. I mean, some Junes father and flag and sport; some don’t. What with the air these days so polluted by violent disrespect, my approach was roses and rivers. Hunger, yes; but also getting all up in the garden. And cats. Grateful, I leaned into the binocular of poems to look out for their cookout. I found it so, you know, come through.

Poets.org: If you could direct readers to one poem in our collection at Poets.org that you haven’t curated, what would it be and why?

SB: Stop. Drop everything now and go see how R. Erica Doyle begins "Where Is She ::: Koté Li Yé" with windswept couplets punctuated by caught breath. The way she sails these sweetnesses of /e/-sounds up as high as the swifts fly. Even here, clutched by the earth-breath breeze, Vaux’s strange birds sleep their way across our September skies. But, never mind that. Listen to Doyle bend the question over and again—Where is your sister?—from her own QueensNY English into and through her grandmother’s Patois. Black women labor, line by line, "to uplift and protect their communities," and Doyle tilts her mirror to their lilting light. Somewhere a "one-celled egun" meets "the torpid moon." Doyle ain’t simple; but neither is she vex. "Everything black / is forbidden," after all, "in Eden." Before you know it, she’ll have you #sayinghername.

Poets.org: What are you working on now in your writing, teaching, or publishing life?

SB: To be honest, I’m skidding into National Rebuild Your Life Month like a top-spitting pot left too long on simmer. My pockets bulge with poems, thumbed to worrystone, that I’ve stolen away from the static finality of published form. Right now, I’m working through poems as body, as vehicle, as house, as home. This year the light’s return coincides with a rare gift of time and space to stretch and breathe, to reflect and think. This summer, I’ll cart my poetry cross-country then over the sea. On the way, I get to guide poets—first on one coast, then another—through the new poetics and processes I’m imagining. This spring, looking forward to the next year or so away from teaching, I worked with a powerhouse group on antiracist creative writing pedagogy; already whatever lies on the other this time side feels energized. Meanwhile, my fingers work to unsnag silk-spun cartographies, sculpt cinepoetic masonry, and explore this or that poem’s bend around line and whisper. What joy that June finds me finally approaching dreamtime. I wonder how many ways I might make my poems bridge unbated breath.

read poem-a-day >

Gertrude Press Comes Calling

“The “poetry reading” as a form has long felt tired to me. I want poems to live in 3D, as body, as hologram. I’m making poems right now whose prosody is haptic pulse. I’m trying to get the body to the poem, the poem to the body, as “nowly” as I imagine or experience it. I’m intrigued by where this allowance of the work to stretch and breathe and be itself might go.”

I want poems to live in 3D, as body, as hologram.

“At minimum, I’m just trying to survive. But also, at minimum, I don’t just want to survive all by myself. But also, I’m not all that interested in ‘at minimum.’ I’m trying to live my best, black-ass life. Whatever that is for you, I want for you too.”

Source: https://www.gertrudepress.org/samiya-bashi...

SAMIYA BASHIR WINS JOSEPH BRODSKY ROME PRIZE FOR LITERATURE!!

American Academy in Rome President Mark Robbins awards the 2019-2020 Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize in Literature to Samiya Bashir and the 2019-20 John Guare Writers Fund Rome Prize to Nicole Sealey in a ceremony at Cooper Union, NYC, April 9, 2019

Lissen. Fam. Loves. Friends. I am beside myself with gratitude and joy. In the last 48 hours I have cemented and celebrated the next year and next life moment that I have the *IMMENSE* joy for, eagerness and gratitude to, share with my sister Nicole Sealey (still -- screaming). I have missed two flights, which I never ever do. I have been loved and cared for by my absolute sister Torkwase Dyson who I love more than liquor, and gotten to reconnect with old friend and badass Adreinne Waheed while making a new bestie in Mia Neale. I have seen and loved and supported and been supported by my born family (thank you to my beautiful and brilliant and beloved aunts Wendy Hilliard and Gloria Mayfield Banks, and thanks to my li'l cousin K.C. Mensah who was the best Rome Prize dinner date ever (charmed everyone and we are all now waiting to celebrate his prize(s!) in the soon soon future). I have been resoundingly reminded, back in the context of my people, my homespace, my community, my culture, MY CONTEXT (which, for all the gifts Portland gives me, and there are many, I have never remained so wildly out of context as a human since my old hometown and honestly, there are fairy doors in my home town so still I'm in some sort of weird context there) about who I am, what I do, with whom and for whom I work, with whom and for whom my work exists and is in conversation, and that not only is that seen and celebrated, but supported and appreciated. I can't be more grateful to this year's Rome Prize literature judges (including the great and brilliant Cornelius Eady--to anyone who doubts the importance of having black folks in the room and at the table, here you go: history) for selecting the first black women literature fellows in the Academy's 125 years, and the first pair of poets in recent memory. To follow along in the footsteps of my beloved beloved June Jordan (FAAR, 71, Environmental Design for her radical architectural re-imaginging of Harlem with Buckminster Fuller--don't miss that magic) in this most honorific way only helps me know that I'm on the right path. I know (like, teary-eyed, I KNOW) she would be so proud of us right now, Nic. So so glad. I am ... beyond. Come visit us in Rome. We will be the most fabulously dressed, prolifically making, diasporically loving, fiercely family-ing poets in town. I've already met and made friends/fam with my favorite Roman/Somali writer Ubah Cristina Ali Farah and can't wait to see and hug her again. I just. My heart is beyond full, y'all. And now I sit waiting for what must be the 3rd flight I've tried for out of NYC to Austin, Texas. Those of you who know I've had an Austin phone number for 12 years now may remember that it was my home during a most important moment in my life and work. When I think of the cradle in which family like Priscilla A. Hale, Florinda Bryant, Omi Oshun Joni Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Lorenzo HerrerayLozano, Wura-Natasha Ogunji, Ana-Maurine Lara, Kiyana Horton, Mat Matt Richardson, Lisa C. Moore, Amanda Johnston (& her whole beautiful family!!) and so so many more, held me so I could get past the bridge I needed to walk to get me here I just. And now -- to finally return 10 years after I left: Gratitude. Folks: we are here because we have helped each other get here. We have supported and pushed toward and through our own survival. Our own thrival. This is what this work is; what it's about. And I am so fortunate to do it. Grateful to Reed College and Dean Nigel Nicholson for ensuring that I was here for the ceremony and to meet so many of my 29 other fellow fellows. I won't continue to gush. I just want to express my gratitude. My joy (really, don't sleep on Adreinne Waheed's new book on black joy worldwide!). My promise to give back all I receive and more. And more. And more. Thank you all for the love and support. I *am* because *you*. Love. Love. Love.

Posted by Samiya Bashir on Thursday, April 11, 2019

Oh what an #AWP19 Time!

What a wild ride having 10+ thousand of my closest and dearest friends in town for the week! Here are a few images from some beautiful poetry readings, dance parties, and catch-up time with beloveds!

Photos copyright the DIVINE Nina Johnson! I am so grateful for her presence and her eye this weekend!

Oh what an #AWP19 Afternoon!

From a hotbed panel on gentrification and literature with Mitchell S. Jackson, Jess Row, Jen Fitzgerald, and Tiana Kahakauwila to my featured reading, The Consequences of Silence, with Simon Armitage, Camille Dungy, and Marcello Hernandez Castillo, Thursday’s first official day of AWP was quite a journey. Here are some images, taken by the Divine Ms. Nina Johnson, from The Consequences of Silence. Thanks to Blue Flower Arts for organizing such a great event!

#AWP19 — The Big Show Begins...

Me to a beloved former student on the eve of her first #AWP19:

“Oh right, I should have warned you. AWP’s like going up to your favorite, most beautiful and beloved rock in the world. The rock around which you’ve set up your whole life. And lifting it up and looking underneath.” Also, here are some safely unsafe spaces in which you’ll find me:

 

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Get your tickets today!  This party is about to save your Friday night.

Come make poetry magic in the dunes!

4th Annual Poetry Festival — Poetry @ The Center!

Join us in celebrating the power of poetry at the Work Center’s 4th Annual Poetry Festival. The Festival includes weeklong  workshops by some of our nation’s most inspired and awarded poets. Evening events include faculty readings and artist talks, concerts, student readings and open studios.

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SUMMER + POEMS + MAGIC? I GOT YOU!

Fine Arts Work Center

POETRY FESTIVAL part one!

July 28-August 2, 2019

Click here to Register!

Keynote: Eileen Myles

Poetry Workshop Faculty:

Samiya Bashir: Restorative Poetics: Writing To & Through Our Humanity

Gabriel Fried: Revising Poems with the Poetry Editor of Persea Books

ALAN SHAPIRO: Writing Under the Influence - Creative Imitation

Brenda Shaughnessy: Why Are We Poets?

CARMEN GIMÉNEZ SMITH: Revision Praxis

CRAIG MORGAN TEICHER: Poetry as Conversation

Monica Youn: The Poet’s Toolkit

fawc.org/summer

Source: https://web.fawc.org/summer-program/restor...

A day in the life ... Reedie Poets @ Work!

This fall I have had a magical class of students in my Intro Poetry Studeio — a cohesive group committed to each other’s growth. It’s a dream. I’m so glad Reed sent some fantastic photographers to document this class. Thank you to my students for a beautiful Fall Term!

Coming up: June's Poem-a-Day Guest Editor!

Excited to rock the 1s & 2s of poems this summer. Come on the ride with me this June — and with this amazing group of Poets all year!

Excited to rock the 1s & 2s of poems this summer. Come on the ride with me this June — and with this amazing group of Poets all year!

Excited to rock the 1s & 2s of poems this summer. Come on the ride with me this June — and with this amazing group of Poets all year!

New York, NY (December 4, 2018)—The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce twelve new guest editors of Poem-a-Day who will each curate a month of poems in 2019. The guest editors, who include the current U.S. poet laureate, and state and city poets laureate, are all award-winning poets who represent wide-ranging expertise and editorial perspectives, as well as twelve states, from California to Colorado to North Carolina. 

Poem-a-Day is the original and only series sharing previously unpublished poems by poets daily. Reaching more than 500,000 readers each morning on Poets.org and via email, social media, and syndication, Poem-a-Day is one of the largest platforms for a poet to share new work.

Subscribe to the free email version of the series here.

“Working with guest editors to produce Poem-a-Day this past year has helped ensure that we are publishing an even greater array of poets and poems. With the guidance of the forthcoming 2019 guest editors, who include some of the most compelling voices in poetry today, we’ll present another year of poems not to miss. In what is American poetry’s heyday, Poem-a-Day is essential reading," said Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT AND SEE 2019’S EDITORIAL CALENDAR

One for the Books

So Long, Wordstock… Portland Book Festival Draws Remarkable Crowds with Bestselling Writers

Russ Foust, November 16, 2018

The Quest looks at local lit…

The Quest looks at local lit…

*Click here to read the full article*

One of Reed’s own professors participated in the celebration of writing last weekend. Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Samiya Bashir was a featured presenter at an event that was part of Lit Crawl Portland, one of the main activities on the Friday evening before the festival. Dr. Bashir, along with other poets and artists, engaged in a monologue centered on the theme of “Unchartable: An Evening of Environmental Unknowns,” an exploration of  “unknowable psychological landscapes, confounding emotional habitats” and “the shapeless environs of both speculation and perception.” Dr. Bashir, who has also presented at the festival in the past, attested to its charm as “a very local, very plucky, Portland book festival.” As a mainstay of the city’s literary scene, Dr. Bashir affirms that “Portland is a really literary town. There are a lot of small presses doing work here. A lot of lit journals, a lot of magazines, a lot of writers. You can’t swing a bag without hitting a writer in this town.” She is also slated to appear as a speaker at the 2019 AWP Conference in March, where she’ll be joined by nationally-recognized authors speaking on the many current facets and application of literature.

Dr. Bashir’s perspective on the Portland Book Festival, despite its expansion and changes, echoes the sentiment that many feel makes Portland unique. “We get to be different,” she says. I think being different actually might be a little more interesting than being the same.”

To dance with frozen tulips...

To dance with frozen tulips...

A gathering of three performances with keyon gaskin and friends. NASHA is an attempt at being less lonely when travelling, named after the artist’s little sister. It centres on and values black sociality, and resists creating something “new” through stipulation, giving context through experience.

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Portland LitCrawl 2018: We Went to Eight Readings! Here's What We Thought!

The Portland Mercury offers a raw and real review of Portland LitCrawl 2018 — including a few notes on yours truly:

Photo (c) Suzette Smith

Photo (c) Suzette Smith

“Samiya Bashir, the lone poet, stood out due to her comfort with her work and her willingness to move around the stage, interacting with the crowd and with her own pieces. Listening to her poems felt like overhearing conversations and Bashir made sure we knew who was speaking which lines.”