poem index


Samiya Bashir

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Samiya Bashir

Samiya Bashir holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MFA from the University of Michigan. She is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017), winner of the Oregon Book Awards' 2018 Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry. She is also the co-editor of Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art, with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana.

Of her poetry, poet Marcella Dyrand writes, "Samiya Bashir challenges the vocabulary of science, 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." 

Bashir is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Astraea Foundation, Cave Canem, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National League of American Pen Women, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, among others. In 2019, Bashir was awarded a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. She has collaborated with visual and media artists on various projects throughout her career, including projects with video artist Roland Dahwen Wu and dancer Kenyon Gaskin. Bashir will be the Poem-a-Day Guest Editor in June 2019, and is an associate professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, where she lives. 


Selected Bibliography


Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017)
Gospel (RedBone Press, 2009)
Where the Apple Falls (RedBone Press, 2005)

by this poet


Everyone up here called me crazy but
I couldn’t do nothing but what seemed right.
Crazy to fight—maybe—maybe crazy
enough to win. Every day I crouch down

into that bend I know I might not creep
out again. Tunnels eat men like penance—
like payment for letting us through       I knew


after Z. S.

Still, somehow we are
carousel. We spin bodies
to the wall and back.

We are woman and
man and man. We
are surgeon and

operation. We are
everybody we love.
We are inside them.

We are inside and we
are laughing. We are
man and we

Like love: first you pick up; then you lay down; then discard; then discard; then discard. That’s love. Right? Did somebody say Dominoes? The problem of a street game is you. You’re already doing it wrong. Doing it wrong before you wake up. Before you walk up the street. Cross the crowded corner. Case in point: