Persis Karim

Persis Karim is poet, editor and professor of World & Comparative Literature at San Francisco State University. She holds the Neda Nobari Endowed Chair and serves as director of the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals including: CallalooReed MagazineThe Raven’s Perch, and The New York Times. She is the editor of three anthologies of Iranian diaspora literature and is glad to be tending to her own poetry manuscript, Accidental Architecture, which was selected a finalist for the Catamaran Review Prize in June 2019.

*Persis featured at the 2020 San Mateo County Peninsula Virtual Bookfest; and in “Empower Women, Empower Earth: Poetry Reading & Panel Discussion” hosted by Skyline College.

Poem on Belonging


To stand in one place and shelter
against the invisible and unknown
is to stop the rolling wheel of my heart,
seeking the next road, the next eye
full of beauty. I was not meant to be fearful—
to hold my love inside, indoors, like a captive
waiting to be unchained. I live for molecules
and patterns, the architecture of a flower,
the flight and song of sparrow, gull, cormorant,
each animal and tree an anthem—
the only true thing I want to abide.

Copyright © 2020 by Persis Karim. This poem originally appeared in MiGoZine. Used with permission of the author.