Tag Archives: ghazals

June Ghazal Page Up with 3 of my Ghazals!


The new June Ghazal Page is online with three of my ghazals!! Please check it out. The Ghazal Page specializes in publishing English languages ghazals in both traditional and experimental forms, as well as somewhere in between. Worth your while to read the whole issue.

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Filed under Formal Poetry, Poetry, Poetry in forms, Siham Karami, Siham Karami poems, Siham Karami poetry

Allison Joseph: Taking on Both Racism and Sexism

International Women’s Day this year, galvanized by the misogyny of President Trump, showed the world a powerful presentation of the importance of women and their essential contributions, calling for both recognition and justice in so many ways.

At the same time, just last month, the shortest month of the year, was Black History Month, for which I barely found enough time to do a few posts, despite that even a 31-day month would not be sufficient time to do bring up a tenth of the poets we need to hear about. One important poet being Allison Joseph.

Allison Joseph’s poetry addresses both concerns: that of racism and its insidious dehumanization of people of color, and civil rights, and that of women’s rights and the fight to be respected and given their due. Here are two strong poems demonstrating what a strong voice she is indeed on both issues.

SUNDOWN GHAZAL

By Allison Joseph

A sundown town was a town, city or neighborhood that was purposely all-white. The term came from signs that were allegedly posted stating that people of color had to leave the town by sundown. They are also sometimes known as “sunset towns” or “gray towns.” The highest proportion of confirmed sundown towns were in the state of Illinois — Wikipedia

Don’t show your face in a sundown town,
or forget your race in a sundown town.

What ancient shame flushes my cheeks?
Reminded of my place in a sundown town.

“How’d you get so good-looking?” said with a wink.
Old white man loves my grace in a sundown town.

Lost in a neighborhood where dogs snap chains,
my body’s a dark space in a sundown town.

Shotguns, gun racks, Dixie stickers, rusted trucks.
Should I stray, armed with mace, in a sundown town?

Crimes thrive in black, white, every grade between.
Are you just another case in a sundown town?

Kink of your hair, curl of your lip,
be careful who you embrace in a sundown town.

State police, city cops, small-town hired hands.
All give chase in a sundown town.

Burned houses, riddled with junk and meth.
Hatred creeps its petty pace in a sundown town.

Black father, white mother, coffee-colored daughter.
What can love erase in a sundown town?

Rivers, tires, bodies—a confluence that cannot hide.
Hard not to leave a trace in a sundown town.

And here, first published on the PBS website:

Kitchen

By Allison Joseph

I remember this as her kitchen,
the one room in our house where no one
questioned my mother’s authority—
her cast iron pots bubbling over
on the stove, cracked tea cups
in the sink. How I hated
the difficult oven always hanging
off its hinges, so loose a clothes hanger
rigged it shut, gas range whose flames
leapt beneath fingers when I turned
its knobs too quickly, floor tile
that never came clean no matter
how much dirt I swept from its
cracks. This was her domain—
kitchen for frying fish
and stewing chicken, for rice
and peas, plantains and yams,
for grease and hot sauce and seasoned salt.
Only she could make that faulty
oven door stay, only she could master
the fickle flames of the rangetop,
only she could make those worn dishes
and chipped plates fill a table
with food so rich and hot
my father could not complain.
And though I am her daughter, this house
no longer hers, her body deep in holy ground,
I know she’d want me to save all this—
decades of platters and saucers, plates,
glasses—every chipped cup, tarnished fork.

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Filed under African American poets, Civil Rights, Formal poets, Human Rights, Poetry, Poets, women poets, Women's poetry

Ghazal “Hello Aleppo” on New Verse News

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In response to the tragedy of Aleppo, Syria, my ghazal “Hello, Aleppo” is up today on New Verse News. Thanks to editor James Penha who does such excellent work at NVN!

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Filed under Middle East poetry, Poems and War, Poetry, Poetry in forms, Publications, Siham Karami poetry

Two Best of the Net Nominations!!

Two outstanding publications which have published work of mine, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily and Sukoon Magazine, have each nominated a poem of mine for Best of the Net. I’m completely overwhelmed and honored by this, both wonderful venues I regularly read for their fantastic work.

Autumn Sky, a must-read for me every morning, nominated “The Year of the Dragon,” a ghazal, for which I am so grateful to editor Christine Klocek-Lim. Sukoon, an Arab-themed magazine with high-quality, moving work including such luminaries as Naomi Shihab Nye and Zeina Hashem-Beck, nominated “The Word for Dawn.” From Cloud 9, my huge gratitude to editor Rewa Zeinati. Thrilled and grateful, yes!! Cheers to all the winners from both venues: what an honor to be among them.

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Filed under Middle East poetry, Poetry, Publications, Siham Karami poems

Five Poems in the Ghazal Page Fauna Issue

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The Ghazal Page Issue 59, Fauna Challenge (see Fauna Photo above), is now live with five of my ghazals (4 never published before) here. Of course, you should check out the whole issue, which is well worth your time. Enjoy!

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Filed under Poetry, Poetry in forms, Siham Karami, Siham Karami poems, Siham Karami poetry

New Ghazal on Autumn Sky

My ghazal “The Year of the Dragon” is live today on autumnskypoetrydaily.com! It’s all about the dragon and, as you might expect (don’t ask why), very very cosmic.

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Filed under Formal Poetry, Poetry, Poetry in forms, Publications, Siham Karami, Siham Karami poetry, Women's poetry

New Poems in The Ghazal Page Flora Issue!!!

Thrilled to have five (!!!!!) ghazals in the new issue of the Ghazal Page, a special issue with the theme of “Flora.” Many wonderful ghazals therein and well worth checking out!

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Filed under Formal Poetry, Poetry, Poetry in forms, Publications, Siham Karami, Siham Karami poems, Siham Karami poetry