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About this poet

Prageeta Sharma was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1972, shortly after her parents emigrated from India in 1969. She attended Simon’s Rock College of Bard for her undergraduate studies and received an M.F.A. in poetry from Brown University in 1995 and an M.A. in media studies from The New School in 2002.

She is the author of three collections of poetry, Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007); The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), winner of the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize; and Bliss to Fill (Subpress Collective, 2000).

Poet Lisa Jarnot has said, "Prageeta Sharma’s poems are as ever imbued with a crafty playfulness by which the appearances of the I, the you, and the we transcend tricks of the trade. Sharma cultivates mindscapes, scrutinizing the self in the midst of blooming and shifting guaranteed to exhilarate the reader."

She received a 2010 Howard Foundation Grant and has taught in the creative writing program at The New School in New York and in the Individualized BA program at Goddard College in Vermont. Sharma is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana in Missoula.

Poetry Anonymous

Prageeta Sharma
Do not fall in love with a poet
they are no more honest than a stockbroker.

(Do you have a stockbroker? If you do, 
your poet is with you because you have one.) 

If you think that they are more sensitive because they care about language
pay attention to how they use language.
Are you included? Are you the "you"?

Or are you a suggestion?
Are you partially included as a suggestion? 

        Are you partially excluded because you are a concept 
        in some jewel-like nouns, almost throwaway,
        yet a perfect resemblance? 

        How does narcissism 
        assist you, who is also the object of desire?
        Do you become the tour-de-force?  

        Consider that poem's vagueness doesn't account for your complexity
        and the epithets don't suffice, you are not "one who is a horse-drawn carriage" 
        nor are you a "sparrow with hatchet." 

Perhaps they quote Mallarme when taking you to bed, 
carefully confusing you with their charm and faux-chastity.

All this before voracious body-pressing.
The lovemaking is confusing until, you remember, they said something:

thus spake the dreamboat, your poet, alarmingly announces during climax:

I spend my fires with the slender rank of prelate

and then fierce withdrawal with a rush of perseverance to flee.

You are mistaken if language furthers your devotion.
You are a fallen person now.
They care more about "you" than for you (you, the real person you).

Line after line, a private, unmediated act done to you with confusing abandon, 
flailing in its substance, however deceptive.

It will enhance your own directionlessness, 
you will be harmed. 

You cannot mediate it with caress. 

Do you think because they understand what meaning looks like, 
they have more meaning than others? 
They are the protectors of feeling, mere protectors: earnest? 
        No. They are protectors of the flawed,
        filling zones of bereftness. 
        The aftermath of pleasure. A contested zone for all.  

What about the lawyer who loves the law? 
Isn't he just a poet with a larger book—
the way they protect and subject language 
to sense-making? 

A kind of cognitive patternization. 

Ultimately, both undertake the hijacking of language, 
they won't love you the way
you are; it's in this inability to love— 
unless you embody the poem— 
you embody the law and its turn of phrase.
Unless you see the poet clearly: loving utterance, 
an unadulterated utterance—seized and insular. 

You must entice with otherness.
        You must catch the poem as a muse does. 
You must muse and muse and muse. 

In thralldom to encounters that stand in for sexual ones, 
we terrorize with sense-making, 

it stands in for intimacy. 

It stands in and suggests that all other kinds of feelings 
and declarations yield to it.

It will move you if you ask for permission 
to exist within its confines,
and you move the poet toward you and you hold the poet's head,
wrapping your arms around it 
strapped in your wordless hold, but soon words do come 

and in the trailing off of speech, you will be permanently lost.

Copyright © 2010 by Prageeta Sharma. Used by permission of the author.

Copyright © 2010 by Prageeta Sharma. Used by permission of the author.

Prageeta Sharma

Prageeta Sharma

Prageeta Sharma was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1972, shortly after her parents emigrated from India in 1969. She attended Simon’s Rock College of Bard for her undergraduate studies and received an M.F.A. in poetry from Brown University in 1995 and an M.A. in media studies from The New School in 2002.

She is the author of three collections of poetry, Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007); The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), winner of the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize; and Bliss to Fill (Subpress Collective, 2000).

by this poet

poem
Clatter into the window this late night.  
We were flabbergasted, tired
of the newly-minted drunks and meth-kids
with squeals for fists.

We live downtown, 
exposed to the alley. 

Nothing dangerous, and we were not alarmed. 
But still, every sound turns us into pins on points,

a sleep
poem
I find ways to keep a sense of peace
but it is not always easy; for example,
I can't keep my questions tempered.
What kind of sun expounds its rays
upon the hills but then mutes
like an ordinary bulb, small
and self-contained?
Moreover, what moon filters
the blistering whiteness of
snow so that it can only be