Samiya Bashir

Samiya Bashir (Poetry) | Portland, OR

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Samiya Bashir’s books of poetry: Field Theories (Spring 2017), Gospel, and Where the Apple Falls, exists. She is also the editor of Best Black Women’s Erotica 2 and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art. Sometimes she makes poems of dirt. Sometimes zeros and ones. Sometimes variously rendered text. Sometimes light. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with a magic cat who shares her obsession with trees and blackbirds and occasionally crashes her classes and poetry salons at Reed College.


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


Best Black Women’s Erotica 2 (Cleis Press, 2003). [editor]. Poetry. Anthology.
Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social & Political Black Literature & Art (Third World Press, 2002). [editor] Poetry. Anthology.

Blurbs, Press & Reviews

“Samiya Bashir’s Field Theories is science as only poetry can be. She’s done her research and now she rethinks everything she gets her pen on: the relationship of dark matter to the sun, the possibilities of the heroic crown of sonnets, Keatsian aesthetics, social re- and inter-actions, and language itself. These poems are alive, are woman-truth, are burning darkly. Grab your shades. No: fire up your magnetosphere. This book is “black body radiation,” and you can’t handle it—but you’ve got to.”
—Evie Shockley

“A lyric scientist at the top of her game, Samiya Bashir explores the emotional and cultural physics of desire, love, loss, family, history, and everyday existence in her new collection Field Theories. These inventive poems move across a range of psychicscapes, recentering black voices and bodies through blackbody theory and quantum mechanics, backyard meditation and bedroom lament. Bashir asks and shows with consummate artistry, what are the deep and hidden laws that divide and connect us?”
—John Keene

“With a quiet ferocity, Samiya Bashir has composed a book of sharp edges and sly questions pointed at each of us. Field Theories demands the sort of wakefulness that proves we’re still alive.”
—Tim Seibles

“To read Samiya Bashir’s poetry is to be pulled up by a force so intense and magnetic as to constitute a new field of action: dark matter and radiation, witness and redaction, and the pendulum of time and history, swinging, swinging. I am reminded of Melvin Tolson’s description of the night on which that legendary steel-driver John Henry was born: ‘an ax of lightning split the sky.’ This book splits the sky right open, swinging like a melody, swinging like a boxer, swinging on each elemental and freighted word to beat the devil.”
—D.A. Powell

“Samiya Bashir’s poems have a terrific edginess. Reclaim, notice, and repair through the exigencies poetry may present. That’s a theory. Be an alchemist of the quotidian and you will survive. Another theory. Bashir’s poems blend with sweet surprise in juxtapositions like “cumulonimbus snee-”. Quantum mechanics get ready. It is a trembling vital field this poet is traveling in.”
—Anne Waldman

Field Theories masterminds the “neverhush,” and each poem makes a spectacular event of artful speech that dances on the ridgeline of this brilliant poets’ history, heart, and intellect. And while she cuts to the quick, all swift-witted and informed, what I admire most is Bashir’s dexterous language, how she aligns our bodies to a vernacular sense of ourselves, knowing that the world is more than empty signs and algorithms, and that we need to ever engineer the widest possible love the world has ever seen.”
&mdashMajor Jackson

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