by Samiya Bashir
Gospel is an ecumenical resistance song in four parts. In this passionate follow-up to 2005’s Lambda Literary Award finalist, Where the Apple Falls, Bashir’s poems challenge truth to stare down the power of fear and paralysis. ”We intended gospel to strike a happy medium for the down-trodden,” said gospel music pioneer Thomas Dorsey. “This music lifted people out of the muck and mire of poverty and loneliness, of being broke, and gave them some kind of hope anyway. Make it anything but good news, it ceases to be gospel.” The good news, according to Bashir, is that we are neither alone in our mess, nor alone in our grasp of the tools to heal. In this pull-no-punches collection Bashir lays down a road map, a portable flashlight, and a shaky-legged escort to usher the way toward recovered sight and strength.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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 School, Poet Lore, Callaloo, 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).
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 currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she teaches creative writing at Reed College.
[Photo credit Wura-Natasha Ogunji.]
Interview on Mandrake Society Radio, March 2009: http://www.mandrakesocietyradio.com/2009/03/30/podcast-poet-samiya-bashir-speaks-gospel/
Interview on Sippin on Ink: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Sippin-on-Ink/2009/04/16/Samiya-Bashir
© 2009 by Samiya Bashir
Cover photo copyright © 2008 by Samiya Bashir
Cover design: E.M. Corbin