You can listen to our extended conversation with Bashir (and check out the amazing videos we talked about) and hear her read in person at the Portland Art Museum May 18 as part of the De-Canon Project.Read More
Thank you to the judges, to Literary Arts, and to the entire Oregon community of readers and writers, plus all those around the country who have supported this work. Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists. What an incredible group and what an honor to be a part of it.
I am honored to have Field Theories recognized with the 2018 Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry. What a gift!
Well well well what sweet sunny day news — I love (like:love!) every single one of these books.
Honored to learn that Field Theories was chosen to go finalisting for the Firecracker Awards with such great poets and poems. #swoon
Read about CLMP’s Firecracker Awards and see all of the finalists here!
Vote for FIELD THEORIES today! I am almost 87% sure that there won't be any Russian ballot tampering. Okay, 89%. ;-)
- Cats in the bathroom
- Assholes who hunt trophy animals: Where do they live and work?
- Black Girls on Surfboards
- Homophobic Closet Cases & the Damage they Do
- No, really, what IS the deal with Florida though?
- Cats in the Bathroom II, The Tropics
- Hard Femme BMX
- A Poetics of Ass
- Cars I’d Drive Before I’d Drive Un Pinche Prius
- Fuck, Fuck, Fuck: When Marriage Isn’t Your Ministry & You Don’t Pay No Shooters
- Trolling the TSA: Steel Implants & Other Ways to Force Uncomfortable Public Crotch Grabs
- Cats in Outer Space: Bathroom Edition
- Remember When We Had Knees? A Former Runner’s Anti-Mobility Blog
- Sexy-Ass Muslimahs: Made You Look! Now get out.
Art Practical considers “Elements of Reclamation,” an exciting exhibition of socially engaged artwork by black women and non-binary artists which opened Portland’s newest art space, Ori Gallery, a new space bringing black art back to Portland’s Mississippi neighborhood, run by Maya Vives and Leila Haile.
Co-curated by local poet and artist Samiya Bashir, Elements of Reclamation features work by five local Black artists: Melanie Stevens, Lisa Jarrett, Intisar Abioto, sidony o’neal, and Ori [Gallery]’s own Maya Vivas. Combining facets of sculpture, installation, text, and illustration, the convergence of these powerhouse individuals creates an energetic and potent force field for queer and femme voices. The exhibition begins with Melanie Stevens’s If You’re Watching This, It’s Too Late (2017), a large chiffon and silk print installation, over ten feet, that spans the entirety of Ori. If You’re Watching This, It’s Too Late provides a sort of second entry into the space; viewers first admire the way it hangs tantalizingly close, like a portal, as they walk underneath. Then they have to make a decision as to whether they continue their visit to the left or right of the work, given that the hanging splits the room in two.
The effect was like a haunting fever dream I wanted to stay in. Striking deliberations from that night still penetrate my consciousness now. Phrases like “I bear the long silence of my own extinction,” “Light speed = need = constancy,” “We are our own shadow. We are want of touch. We are biting. We are hungry. We are a stopped carousel” and “Did anyone ever ask?”
Through repetition and renewing contexts, these phrases get absorbed into the listener’s subconscious, rumbling there.
Please join us for the first event of the Spring 2018 Hallie Ford and Teppola Literary Series, a poetry reading by Samiya Bashir. The reading will take place on Monday, February 12th at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room (2nd floor of Hatfield Library) and is free and open to the public.
PLEASE NOTE: The event date has changed. Previously, Professor Bashir was slated to read this Thursday. Due to a scheduling conflict, the event has been changed to next Monday, February 12th. So mark your calendars!
Samiya Bashir is the author of three books of poetry: Field Theories; Gospel; and Where the Apple Falls, which were both Lambda Literary Award finalists. Her poetry, stories, articles and editorial work have been featured in numerous publications most recently including Poetry, World Literature Today, Ecotone, HOAX, The Offing, and Poet Lore among many others. Sometimes she makes poems of dirt. Sometimes zeros and ones. Sometimes variously rendered text. Sometimes light. Bashir has collaborated with a number of visual and media artists on projects such as M A P S :: a cartography in progress, with Roland Dahwen Wu, Coronagraphy with Tracy Schlapp, and “Breach,” with Alison Saar, currently on exhibition at L.A. Louver. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing at Reed College.
About Field Theories:
“In verse, Bashir considers multiple realities through the lens of race and class, questioning dominant narratives. ‘Starting with her title, Field Theories, Samiya Bashir challenges the vocabulary of science,’ Durand writes, ‘finding inflections and echoes within that vocabulary of the long and brutal history of race and racially based economic exploitation in the U.S.A.’
“When used within the respective sciences of physics, psychology and social science, the term “field theory” (singular) has specific meanings. “Unified field theory,” in particular, coined by Albert Einstein, refers to the attempt to find a single framework behind all that exists (gravity, however, continues to escape this effort). But by changing “theory” to “theories,” (plural) Bashir subverts that idea of a singular framework to reveal the multiplicity of reality: where there is one reality there will be other realities told in various forms, splitting the dominant narrative into a prism of narratives. In contrasts and convergences, she questions history (histories) and how it is (they are) articulated in even the most objective of “fields.” In fact, “field” itself is a loaded word within slavery’s context, indicating enforced agricultural labor.” (Hyperallergic, Marcella Durand)
“Field Theories pivots around this central theme, that the black body—scientifically speaking—is an idealized physical body that absorbs (my italics) electromagnetic radiation, while a white body reflects (my italics) all rays completely and uniformly in all directions. It’s how Bashir renders that theme which makes this collection worth reading. She has taken science and folklore and emphasized the interactions between the individual and his or her environment with a lyrical adeptness that excites the poem/s. There is an intuitive force and a soul to this collection, but there is also the shadow. The mind versus the body, light versus darkness, the individual versus society, and how we measure them all —all of which are very alive throughout each section, either through her exploration of properties or characteristics, “life space,” and the behaving selves.” (The Poetry Foundation, Harriet Staff)
So proud to join the faculty of Voices of Our Nation's Arts Foundation (VONA) whose premier summer writing intensive has been nurturing writers of color since 1999.
I'm honored to have FIELD THEORIES short-listed for the Oregon Book Awards' Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry. Come to the ceremony to celebrate a year's worth of groundbreaking books!
Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships supports, promotes, and celebrates Oregon’s writers and publishers.
The Oregon Book Awards honor the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, graphic literature, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers. Oregon Literary Fellowships provide financial support to Oregon’s emerging and established writers and publishers.
2018 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
April 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Gerding Theater at the Armory
Tickets start at $12, available at BrownPaperTickets.com
On Monday, April 30, Literary Arts will host our annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers in the genres of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, young readers, and graphic literature. This event draws an audience of over 500 literary enthusiasts from our local community and beyond. Young adult author Renée Watson will host this year’s event.
2018 OREGON BOOK AWARDS FINALISTS
KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION
Judges: Eowyn Ivey, Shanthi Sekaran, Justin Tussing
Omar El Akkad of Portland, American War (Knopf)
Wayne Harrison of Springfield, Wrench and Other Stories (New American Press)
Victor Lodato of Ashland, Edgar and Lucy (St. Martin’s Press)
Matthew Robinson of Portland, The Horse Latitudes (Propeller Books)
Lidia Yuknavitch of Milwaukie, The Book of Joan (HarperCollins)
STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY
Judges: Chris Abani, Laura Kasischke, D.A. Powell
manuel arturo abreu of Portland, transtrender (Quimérica Books)
Samiya Bashir of Portland, Field Theories (Nightboat Books)
Allison Cobb of Portland, After We All Died (Ahsahta Press)
Stephen Lackaye of Beaverton, Self-Portrait in Dystopian Landscape (Unicorn Press)
Ed Skoog of Portland, Run the Red Lights (Copper Canyon Press)
2018 Readers’ Choice Award
Cast your vote in the Readers’ Choice Award survey and help your favorite Oregon Book Award finalist win a special honor. The winner will also be announced live at the ceremony on April 30. Click here to vote.
Join me with Poetry Magazine editor Don Share, Fred Sasaki, and Ed Skoog as we hear from their new Book WHO READS POETRY: 50 VIEWS FROM POETRY MAGAZINE and talk about poetry in our contemporary moment.
read more about it here: https://www.portlandmercury.com/events/19566885/fred-sasaki-don-share-samiya-bashir-ed-skoog
I first woke up to a deeply annoying email patronizing MLK day with a 2nd grade interpretation of his legacy.
Then The Academy of American Poets started releasing poems in honor of the day. First June Jordan, than me.
Well...the honor of serving the day as companion to Mutha is mine with a *deep bow* of thanks. ✨❣️Read More
Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution lifts up the voices of African-American lesbians for us all to hear, see, and know.
The creative work in Sinister Wisdom 107: Black Lesbians—We Are the Revolution gathers together new writing by an array of emerging and established black lesbian and queer women writers.
Sinister Wisdom 107 invites us all as readers, thinkers, activists, and cultural workers to engage in meaningful and productive ways with the voices and works of African-American lesbians as they write and imagine new worlds.
"Another time, I saw Samiya Bashir at a conference. Everybody in the room was sort of buzz buzz. I was sitting on the floor, it was packed. The panel was a beautiful hodge-podge of topics. And as she prepared to speak, she had veiled her head in fabric and her eyes were closed. When it was time to speak, she passed around a piece of paper. “Tear some off,” she said. “Share it with your neighbor. Nibble on it. Eat it. Hide it in your clothes.”
"It’s easy to find poetry in science, from the ring of Latin names to the construction of an elegant theory. It’s a harder thing to find science in poetry. But that is the genesis of Portland poet Samiya Bashir’s book “Field Theories,” where poems titled after scientific principles like “Planck’s Constant” and “Synchronous Rotation” plumb the space where theories collide with real life: from the back seat of a taxi to jazz clubs, early morning cigarettes, human fables, gun violence and Groucho Marx."Read More
"One thing’s for sure," muses Lambda's Shane Michael Manieri, "Field Theories contains an energy, or energies, and Bashir explores every aspect of it/them."
Of Field Theories, Adrian Matejka said, “There is so much happening in these poems…” And it’s true. There are poems in the voices of John Henry and his wife, Polly Ann, in sections titled “Coronagraphy,”—a coronagraph, as some may know, is a telescope that uses a disk to block the Sun’s bright surface so that one might be able to see things close to it. However, one can’t help but think of a Coronary Angiography, which is a scientifically medical system that X-rays the chest to detect blockages in the heart—which have the literary craftsmanship of Jean Toomer, and is a further study into the relationship between the monumental black figure—be it male or female—and social science, people and their environment, their societies and have the lyrical ballad swing of the language we hear on the street mixed with the colorful characters of the American folklore: man against machine, man against boss, man against the power structure.
The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) is pleased to announce its 2017 Fellows in Literature – Portland writers Samiya Bashir and Rene Denfeld. RACC’s fellowship program honors local artists of high merit. Recipients receive a cash award of $20,000 to sustain or enhance their creative process.Read More