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Samiya Bashir

Years: 2002, 2005, 2006


Samiya Bashir's work includes the forthcoming book of poems, Field Theory, as well as Gospel, Where the Apple Falls, and the anthology Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art coedited with Tony Medina and Quraysh Ali Lansana. Her work has been featured in numerous publications and she is the recipient of awards, grants, and fellowships from Hurston/Wright, Aquarius Press, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, the University of Michigan, the University of California, Soul Mountain, The Austin Project, Astraea Foundation, and National Association of Pen Women among others. A founding organizer of Fire & Ink, recognized as the most influential supporter and advocate for LGBT writers of African descent, her work has most recently appeared in Poetry, World Literature Today, Callaloo, Encyclopedia Vol 2 F-K, Reverie: Midwest African American Literature, and online @,, and Torch: Creative Writing by African American Women. She teaches creative writing at Reed College.


First beer drunk & shot clock ticking

too easy to say it started on tuesday night.

average. work/school night. family hour to prime

time digesting broadcast news rancid as discount meat.


how did we get here then? on this rent-to-own couch,

greasy-fingered and scowl-faced. cussing out somebody’s

children. belt worn ragged to the first and final hole. unbuttoned.


half-conscious. throwing answers at an orange square

head spinning a wheel. spinning the wheel. rooting for a

promised escape. no destination in mind. no idea of route.


Reprinted from Gospel: poems (forthcoming from RedBone Press, 2009)