Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley,
where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her first poetry collection, LOOK, published by Graywolf Press in 2016, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Sharif's work has appeared in The New Republic, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Witness, and others. The former managing director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, scholarships the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a winter fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, an NEA fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship. She has most recently been selected to receive a 2014 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award as well as a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. She is currently a lecturer at Stanford University.
Our phone would
rarely ring. I have no ear
for the mu-
sic here. They would
bury one then another, the eldest son dropping
the grave to
comfort the corpse, calling us
because we were
exiles, were vagabonds, fugitives, past Sierras,
in Texas, or waiting for
to clear of frost,
two expanding ovals where the Buick’s heat hit, our
kudzu, here where the dead can
not reach us.
Three thimbles with
her sweat, in the dresser drawer they emptied would, I bet,
Gauze of soot, of skin sifted
off her where
she scratched her head,
licked her thumb to lift page after thin onionskin page,
Portrait of Imam Ali,
dead son. She stuffed
plastic bags into plastic bags, clouds of them, some stuffed
cash. She who
pled Eat. pled Pray. said I pray
for your soul.
fasted, said Ask
Him, never once talked of love, or, fondly, My husband,
would that I
could lick the dust that like—I
sic will not reach
us here, just wet my fingertip, run along inside
so that her sugar, Shiraz
bits she tracked
inside, I could
eat, lick off her plastic tabletop whatever fell
by grain off
her tiny, tin teaspoon. Where
her gold went,
who gives a shit.
I claimed her sugar bowl, white floral veil she prayed in,
take once her
daily, daily things. Morning
to step up her
thinly carpeted steps, hear her dentures click and clap.
can’t hear that
"The Role of the Poet: An Interview with Solmaz Sharif." The Paris Review. 27 July 2016.
"Solmaz Sharif and the poetics of a new American generation" by John Freeman. The Los Angeles Times. 8 July 2016.
"A Poet Subverts the Defense Department’s Official Dictionary" by Natalie Diaz. The New York Times. 19 August 2016.
Seminar | January 30, 2018
Reading | January 30, 2018