Books

My first full-length poetry collection, To Love the River, published by the wonderful Kelsay Books (2018), is available now on their website and on Amazon!

So to add redundancy as a form of convenience and visibility-enhancement, here’s a couple handy “buttons” in case you are considering buying the book. (Same links as above.)

[buy from KELSAY BOOKS]

[buy from AMAZON]

To buy a signed copy from me, write to my email: sihamkarami AT gmail DOT com. Not as convenient, but then…

A sample poem is below, which I may change from time to time. The poetry may be largely (although not entirely) in various forms such as the ghazal, the sonnet, and the villanelle, but hopefully you will find the unexpected; both style and subject matter definitely vary quite a bit within the book.

(Title Poem, not available online.)

To Love the River

You wouldn’t like how my delicate arms
flailed uselessly in the rapids,
or the dim green diorama
of death where I spent my oblivion
under the river’s ripped shoulders.
You’d love the river, its violence
unimpeachable, its long breath
a single unbroken word
so beautiful it breaks you apart,
ejaculated into eternity, a sound
like your bloodstream echoing through
a giant aorta, the sound
of a galaxy’s spiral arms, distant,
yet here! Loud above you, the surface—
and you are no match for this.
You long for the soft march of birch trees
and their attendant wings, dragonflies,
the infinitesimal reach of delicate things.
Like me, you pump extremities
to no avail. The river
may throw us onto a rock
to go on living. We are not heroes.
Our home is a forest of weaker things.
We name this place, wade onto shore,
settle into leaves and conversation.
And in the middle of our little words,
some enormity pulls us deeper
and neither of us can laugh our way
out of this. Nothing else matters.
Its currents shift our pulse, our course.
If I must drown, let it be like this.

************************************

Notes on the cover art:

Also, about the cover, “Dove #1” by Hilma af Klint, a Swedish mystic (1862-1944) and pioneer of abstract art (pre-Kandinsky!) just being “discovered” recently, having the first solo showing of her work in the U.S. at the Guggenheim in NYC from now through April 23, 2019. The Guggenheim link also gives some fascinating details about her life and work. Scroll down for additional information.

Further fascinating info from an article in Sabat Magazine:

Masculine-feminine polarity is a tenet of occult teachings, and the union of this duality is what af Klint suggests is key to spiritual evolution. Evolution, represented by the spirals which wind throughout af Klint’s work, was a new scientific theory which Theosophists and Anthroposophists enthusiastically adopted to describe spiritual development. According to art historian Julia Voss, the snails in af Klint’s work, which were both hermaphroditic and spiral shaped, most embodied the aim of this continuous process of growth: the union of duality. The spiral also figured into af Klint’s plans for her series’ ideal display: a spiral shaped temple in which the viewer saw the works in sequence. It’s no coincidence that the Guggenheim is spiral-shaped: the founding director, Hilla Rebay, was a proponent of Theosophy and Anthroposophy. In 1957 Rebay commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to build the museum in a spiral shape as a “temple to the spirit.” Without knowing it, af Klint’s audience built the temple she had imagined.

In other words, the Guggenheim Museum was built on the same principle and vision as af Klint had in mind, but at the time of its commission neither the Director, Hilla Rebay, nor the architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, had ever heard of Hilma af Klint or seen her art. The story is quite astounding.

The cover painting’s relationship to the poems is also an intuitive one. The poet who selected it for me is a dear mentor and fellow poet to whom I am indebted for much, and I believe that intuitive spirit brought this art to this book, written from life but also from the heart, from the study of the Yi Jing, which I used as a guiding principle in organizing the poems, and the Quran, my study of which led to the discovery of a connection between the Quran and many other spiritual traditions through…the spiral, that symbolic shape which was also significant to af Klint.

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