Saturday, January 21, 2017

[Poet Spotlight] Saba Razvi

I'm just starting to come across the work of the modern mystical Islamic poet Saba Razvi, who is also a scholar who also writes criticism and fiction. She's also a fellow member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association and brings a wonderful approach to speculative poetry from a South and West Asian American perspective.

Her diverse research interests include Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Literature and Science, Literature and Technology, Sufi Poetry, South Asian Literature, Urdu Poetry, Contemporary Fiction, Translation and Poetry, Subculture in Literature, Robots in Poetry and Fiction, Science Fiction Poetry and Literature, and Representations of Poetry and Narrative in Science Fiction or Popular Culture.

The The Poetry Journal has a trio of her poems online that give you a sense of her written and spoken style: "Gingerbread Girl," "Longing Along the Long Winter's Eve," and "On the metropole walkside, he watched the dimming light." I would also recommend taking a look at a 2016 interview she did with Blogging the Numinous to get a sense of her inspirations.

In The Garden of Crocodiles is her first full-length book of poetry.  Employing a provocative, lavish technique with her verse, she "draws contemporary currents of political concern and cultural identity through the sieve of inherited mythos and ecstatic awareness." The poems are said to blossom out of the liminal moments in which familiar narratives begin to unravel, exploring the nature of transgression in emotionally contractual situations that have not retained their structural integrity.

Her poems have also appeared in journals such as The Offending Adam, Diner, The Homestead Review, NonBinary Review, 10x3 plus, 13th Warrior Review, The Arbor Vitae Review, and Arsenic Lobster. Her work has been anthologized frequently, including Voices of Resistance: Muslim Women on War Faith and Sexuality, The Loudest Voice Anthology, The Liddell Book of Poetry, and Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity.

Her other poetry collections include the chapbooks Limerence & Lux (Chax Press), Of the Divining and the Dead (Finishing Line Press), and the forthcoming Beside the Muezzin’s Call & Beyond the Harem’s Veil (Finishing Line Press)

Limerence & Lux was produced as a limited edition, hand-stitched, letterpressed, chapbook. It featured individually-painted blue and gold covers by artist Cynthia Miller. Her poems in this collection focused on "the lightblooms of desire and lust and heartbreak that fill the intimate spaces of relationships between people and their shared navigation of the world’s darkness."

Saba Razvi's poems have been nominated for the Best of the Net Award, the Rhysling Award, and have won a 2015 Independent Best American Poetry Award. She is currently an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Houston in Victoria, TX, where in addition to working on scholarly research on interfaces between Science and contemporary Poetry, she is studying Sufi Poetry in translation, and writing new poems and fiction.

I'm looking forward to seeing more from her in the future.You can follow her latest work at although the website is still a work in progress.

She is available for readings, roundtables on craft, guest lectures in classes, meetings with book-clubs, and microworkshops; if she can’t manage the travel in a particular case, she is available through online video-calls.

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