In this first episode of Artists in the World, poet Solmaz Sharif opens with a reading from Customs (2022) and Look (2016). Then, writer Negar Azimi engages Sharif in a reflective conversation about their ever-changing relationship to find home in exile, the restlessness of language, and the ways poetry can direct our gaze.
Born in Istanbul to Iranian parents, Solmaz Sharif is the author of Customs (Graywolf Press, 2022) and Look (Graywolf Press, 2016), a 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.
Negar Azimi is a writer and editor and occasional curator. She is the Editor-in-Chief of the publishing and curatorial project Bidoun, a former fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, a member of the Beirut-based Arab Image Foundation, and a board member of Artists Space. Her essays, criticism, and reportage have appeared in Artforum, Bookforum, Frieze, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The New York Times and elsewhere. With Pati Hertling she organizes the epistolary series Deadlines and Divine Distractions. For the current Carnegie International, she and Sohrab Mohebbi have organized an exhibition around the artist, curator, and collector Fereydoun Ave.