Samiya Bashir is the author of Field Theories (Nightboat Books, 2017), and Gospel (2009) and Where the Apple Falls (2005), 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 others.
Bashir is a founding organizer of Fire & Ink, an advocacy organization and writer’s festival for LGBT writers of African descent. She is also the editor of Black Women’s Erotica 2 (2003) and co-editor of Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art (2002), with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana.
In 2011 she was a recipient of two Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan and the 2011 Aquarius Press Legacy Award, given annually in recognition of women writers of color who actively provide creative opportunities for other writers.
Bashir currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing at Reed College.
A small matter of engineering
The old water tower once stored
every drop we lived on. Its walls
dark capped bricked beige as
supermarket pantyhose still rise
erect astride the main drag
where our road splits between
opposing camps. On this side
everything gone as long as anyone
remembers and winter still cold
as it’s ever been. On the other side?
Listen. You’ve always had the broadest
swath of the river, friend. Thing is: we’re
still here. Whatever else you’ve got left —
well — let us stay parched. G’head, I dare you:
Consequences of the laws of thermodynamics
When Albert Murray said
the second law adds up to
the blues that in other words
ain’t nothing nothing he meant it
not quite the way my pops says
nomads don’t show emotions
but more how my grandmother
warned that men like women
with soft hands blood red
nails like how Mingus meant
truth if you had time for it
facts if you got no time that
years pass. Zero
one two three and
the man you used
to flirt with you
no longer flirt with
He’s now a man
you can’t wear
your jaw out on
news or work
Stairs: a rushed flight down thirty-eight; French doors unlocked always.
Always: a lie; an argument.
Argument: two buck hunters circle a meadow’s edge.
Edge: one of us outside bleeding.
Bleeding: shards of glass; doors locked.
Locked: carpet awash with blood.
Blood: lift and drop; a sudden breeze.
Breeze: its whistle though bone.
Bone: the other was looking at —
Bone: cradle to catch drips.
Drips: quiet as a meadow fawn.
Fawn: faces down each hunter each gun.
Again: somebody call someone.
Someone: almost always prefers forgetting.
Forgetting: an argument; a lie.
Lie: a meadow; a casement; a stair.
Field Theories (forthcoming Spring 2017, Nightboat Books)
Gospel (RedBone Press, 2009)
Where the Apple Falls (RedBone Press, 2005)
Hopwood Poetry Award (The Hopwood Program at the University of Michigan)
Legacy Award (Aquarius Press / Willow Books)
Lesbian Poetry Award (Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice)
Hurston/Wright Legacy Award (Finalist, Gospel)
Lambda Literary Award Finalist (for Gospel)
Lambda Literary Award (Finalist for Where the Apple Falls)