Solmaz Sharif


Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif is the author of Look, finalist for the National Book Award. She holds degrees from U.C. Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, the New York Times, and others. Her work has been recognized with a “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize, Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lannan Foundation, and Stanford University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at Arizona State University where she is inaugurating a Poetry for the People program. Her second poetry collection, Customs, will be published by Graywolf Press in March 2022. Source

Reaching Guantánamo

Dear Salim,


Love, are you well? Do they                 you?

I worry so much. Lately, my hair                         , even

my skin                            . The doctors tell me it’s

I believe them. It shouldn’t

        . Please don’t worry.

                                            in the year, and moths

have gotten to your mother’s

                                                         , remember?

I have enclosed some                             — made this

batch just for you. Please eat well. Why

did you           me to remarry? I told

                         and he couldn’t               it.

I would never                                       .

Love, I’m singing that               you loved,

remember, the line that went

“                                                     ”? I’m holding

the                   just for you.







Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Intersectionality & Culture

Love & Relationships

Poetic Form


Racial Injustice

Literary Devices:


a break between words within a metrical foot


(of a literary work) in the form of letters


an instruction or a command

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered

Template Poem

a poem in which a poet uses a predetermined form to structure the poem. For example: a multiple-choice format, a recipe, directions, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Miranda Rights. A template poem borrows an already established form to provide structure and commentary.