You may (or may not) have heard about the death of a young boy, who was shot while riding in the back seat of his father’s car. This poem is dedicated to him and the thousands of others who unfortunately aren’t privileged enough to merit our will for policy change and recognition of human rights for all. For more information about Mohammad, the Israeli Human Rights Organization B’Tselem has posted here and Defense for Children International-Palestine has posted here.
I am pleased to share that a tanka I wrote about my grandmother was published in the most recent issue of Ribbons, the official publication of the Tanka Society of America. “Grammy,” as she was affectionately known was a complex character who, as the poem suggests, could be difficult to “read,” but who is missed dearly. If she were here to see this, she would probably say “that’s nice, Katie” or something as hilariously dismissive.
In February 2021 (I know it’s late), my poem “What the Birds Don’t Know” was featured by the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance in a group exhibition reflecting on the theme of Love in the Time of COVID-19, alongside other new and found artworks from the Pandemic.
I wrote this little piece in my backyard in late 2020 as I still struggled to make sense of the changed world around me. Reflecting on all that we lost and wondering whether we would ever come out the other side (seems more likely now, fingers crossed), I continued to find comfort in nature and the obliviousness of the world around us to this mess we had created. And that, is what the birds don’t know.
No, I did not set out to write a month’s worth of short poems inspired by the experience of Ramadan. It started as a couple of handwritten poems while I was resting outside, but then it became more of a personal challenge that I found people (particularly non-Muslims) were able to connect with. Having a general interest in art that connects us despite our perceived cross-cultural and religious boundaries, I thought what better way to bridge this gap in a way that was both meaningful and easily accessible. Plus, micro poetry forms are fun and perfect for when you’re so hungry your faculties are literally shutting down. Kidding (mostly). Anyway, here are some recent Instagram posts, and you can follow me on Instagram to see more from this series.
Since 2015, O, Miami has teamed up with WLRN to bring the beauty of poetry to the every day experience with their poetry initiative Zip Odes. What is a Zip Ode you ask? A Zip Ode is a short poem that reflects on what makes your neighborhood unique or interesting. Great, but how do you write one? Easy. Each line contains the number of words as each number of your Zip Code. For example, 33143 would be 3 words, 3 words, 1 word, and so on.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I am proud to share that mine (below) was chosen as a 2021 finalist. See more finalists or submit your own here.
“How Many?” was recently chosen as a winner of the Censorship & Freedom Contest by The Abstract Elephant Magazine (TAEM). Responding to the question “does censorship destroy freedom” negatively (at least sometimes), “How Many?” is a poem that explores the outer limits of free speech by examining how speech has been used throughout history by elites at the expense of the oppressed, sometimes with devastating results. In a world of disinformation, global pandemics and “fake news,” it’s crucial that we consider who is doing the speaking, whose voices are being censored and the human cost of absolute, “free” speech.
“Name and Place” is an exactly fifty-word microfiction piece that reflects on the (absurd) duality of how humans have treated our bodies as entirely separate entities from our souls. It was inspired by two entries in the classic Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, and is intended to highlight how this separate (and unequal) treatment of the human body vs. the human soul has not only endured but become second-nature through modern times. Now that I have officially explained the piece in more words than the story itself, you can go here to read it yourself.
This piece appears in 50 Give or Take, a microfiction project published by Vine Leaves Press, which delivers a new microfiction piece to subscribers’ inboxes daily.
A tribute to Langston Hughes’ heart-wrenching poem “Birmingham Sunday,” “Gaza Wednesday (July 16, 2014)” is an adaptation that seeks to draw parallels between the darkness bred by racism and oppression – which is not bound by place or time. The classic piece by Langston Hughes is centered on the tragic Birmingham Church Bombing of September 15, 1963, while “Gaza Wednesday” recounts the 2014 Gaza Beach Bombing that killed four little boys (ages 9 to 11), later revealed to have been caused by an armed drone strike.
These pieces are forever tied in the same way we, as people, are tied. Drawing a parallel between these events is a recognition of our ongoing responsibility to one another. The subjects’ tragedies are our tragedies across time, space, religion, language, gender. . . and it is our responsibility to speak their eternal truths and do what we can to better this world in their honor.
Constellation: Seed is a project within the greater Constellations group of projects, published by Literary North, which focuses on writing that utilizes lines or fragments (in other words, “seeds”) within new, previously unpublished works. Constellation: Seed may be accessed here.
Garden Valley Variety is a poem that explores the good old fashioned theme of romantic love, with the added twist of being trapped in our homes during a yearlong (+) pandemic – with two kids under the age of 5. Originally a poem that I wrote for my husband for Valentine’s Day, I am excited to share that this piece will be included in Moonstone Arts Center’s “Love & the Pandemic” Poetry Anthology to be read live and published on March 14, 2021.