Samiya Bashir
Samiya Bashir is the author of Gospel (2009) and Where the Apple Falls (2005), which was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in Poetry. She is also the author of the chapbooks Wearing Shorts on the First Day of Spring (1999), American Visa (2001), and Teasing Crow (2006). Her poetry, stories, articles and editorial work have been featured in numerous publications most recently including Poetry, World Literature Today, Ecotone, HOAX, The Normal SchoolPoet LoreCallaloo, and The Encyclopedia Project. Her poems have appeared in anthologies, including War Diaries (2010), Best Lesbian Erotica 03 (Cleis Press, 2002), Best of the Best Lesbian Erotica (Cleis Press, 2000), and the Cave Canem Anthology: VII(2002)

The poems in Gospel reference a diverse range of voices and traditions; Norse gods, Ghanaian call and response, and black gospel all contribute to an exploration of the sensual world. Blackademics reviewer Alexis Pauline Gumbs found the poems “inhabiting the tradition of black gospel music’s straddling contradiction, standing in the sacred and profane.” Gumbs further noted that the collection presents a “close look at the infinite places and moments when the human body meets despair, pleasure and transcendence.”

A long-time communications professional focused on editorial, arts, and social justice movement building, 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.

Bashir is the recipient of several awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies from the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the NEA, the University of California (where she served as a poet laureate), the Astraea Foundation, the National League of American Pen Women, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Soul Mountain Retreat, The Austin Project, Alma de Mujer, the James Dick Foundation for the Performing Arts, and Cave Canem, among others. She was a recipient of 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.