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caption: Prageeta Sharma and afrose fatima ahmed
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Prageeta Sharma and afrose fatima ahmed
Credit: Courtesy of the authors

Lyric World presents poetry of loss and collective grief

Lyric World is a series that focuses on the social role of poetry, how poetry can be relevant to our everyday lives, and its power to provoke deeper conversations on matters of being human together.

Poet Prageeta Sharma, a professor at Pomona College, is the focus of this new episode. Sharma’s husband Dale died in 2015. She wrote about that experience and loss in her collection Grief Sequence:

“After Dale’s sudden cancer, / his body wasting swiftly / to death. / I didn’t believe in love or beauty, or my / ability to write poems. / And my grieving turned into a sequence of / writing / hostile little elegies / in solitary sittings. Elegies ceased being / elegant.”

After reading from her work, Sharma was joined in conversation by poet afrose fatima ahmed, who says of her work:

“i am a woman who makes a living taking the most personal stuff of your life & transforming it into art. i use the practice of deep listening, of presence & attention, to take your subjects, which are really your stories, your griefs & your dreams, & compose poems just for you.”

Lyric World: Conversations with Contemporary Poets is curated by Shin Yu Pai and presented by Town Hall Seattle. Pai is the author of ten books of poetry. Her latest collection, Ensō, came out this year. This event took place on June 25.

This episode includes two pieces of music by Tomo Nakayama: Cold Clear Moon and Shadows. Tomo also contributed his song Roscoe to the episode:

Roscoe (What A Gift) By Tomo Nakayama