pamela laskin Tag

It is impossible to encounter Aracelis Girmay’s work and not be moved. She writes with such an enormous heart that you cannot help being expanded in the presence of her poems. I first met Aracelis at a teaching artist training for the Community Word Project and immediately knew that my universe had shifted. Simply being in her presence and experiencing her mind is pure poetry. Many poets are brilliant and full of heart, but I think it is a rare thing to come across a poet who is so fearless in the expression of her love and imagination. There are plenty of excerpts I could give of Aracelis’ work, but I have chosen the one below, from her first book Teeth, because before I heard this poem I didn’t know you could do that in a poem—make it that real and immediate.  I recommend reading it aloud.

I have been enormously inspired by the work of my daughter, the poet Samantha Reiser. This might seem like an odd choice, since I am her Mom, and usually it works the other way around. Samantha Reiser recently completed her degree at Harvard College, where she was an English Concentrator. TOMAS SIMON AND OTHER POEMS, her senior thesis, was a finalist for the Yale Younger Poetry Prize for 2012, and her work has been published in SIC, THE ONE THREE EIGHT, LYRE, LYRE and THE J JOURNAL. Her essay, "Namibian Shoes" is included in the anthology, IT'S ALL ABOUT SHOES. She has been a poetry judge for the NYC Poetry Festival for several years, and she volunteers her time as a rape crisis advocate. [caption id="attachment_601" align="alignright" width="300" caption="World Teach School in Ondangwa, Namibia"][/caption] Samantha has opened up the door for me to start thinking of poetry outside of the box of my immediate surroundings. Samantha's poetry lives and breathes in the world, since her concerns are about humanity, social injustice, women's rights, both on a national and international level.

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