Samiya Bashir, called a “dynamic, shape-shifting machine of perpetual motion,” by Diego Báez, writing for Booklist, is a poet, writer, librettist, performer, and multi-media poetry maker whose work, both solo and collaborative, has been widely published, performed, installed, printed, screened, experienced, and Oxford comma’d from Berlin to Düsseldorf, Amsterdam to Accra, Florence to Rome, and across the United States.
Sometimes she makes poems of dirt. Sometimes zeros and ones. Sometimes variously rendered text. Sometimes light. Bashir is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Field Theories, winner of the 2018 Oregon Book Award’s Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry.
Her honors include the Rome Prize in Literature, the Pushcart Prize, Oregon’s Arts & Culture Council Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature, and two Michigan’s Hopwood Poetry Awards, among numerous other awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies. In addition to her books, Bashir has served as editor to national magazines and anthologies of literature and artwork. In 2002 she was co-founder of Fire & Ink, an advocacy organization and writer’s festival for LGBT writers of African descent with whom she worked through 2015.
“How, Bashir asks often in her poems in all their various forms, can we exist today,” wrote Marcella Durand for Hyperallergic, “in this place, in this time, as who we are?” An Associate Professor at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, Bashir works to create, employ, and teach—within and without traditional academic setting—a restorative poetics which can acknowledge the despair often bred by isolation and turn it toward a poetics of light and its potential for witness, for healing, and for change. Bashir lives
on the road in Harlem
BA - Interdisciplinary Studies: Literatures of American Ethnic Cultures | University of California