SLANT Feature Poet

Featured Slant Poet: Samir Atassi

The current issue of Slant includes two poems by Samir Atassi. This issue marks his debut appearance in our journal.

Samir Atassi

Samir is a native and life-long resident of Ohio. He earned a BA degree in English from Kent State University and later an MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University. He currently lives in Cleveland, where he is an ardent fan of the NFL’s Browns and an active member of the Rust Belt Poets, a creative collective that produces a series of readings to highlight the talents of local writers.

His work has also appeared in a number of other journals both online and in print, including Painted Bride Quarterly, Cape Rock, The Ghazal Page, and The American Journal of Poetry. New poems will appear in the Spring/Summer issue of the online journal Sleet Magazine.

Samir’s poems tend to be elegies, meditations on Arab-American identity, and pieces on time and memory and people he has known and loved. About the poem “Maria’s Field of Hope,” one his poems in our current issue, he writes: “[It] is about an actual place I visited, a sunflower field in Avon, Ohio owned by an organization that’s dedicated to raising money for childhood cancer research, in memory of a local child named Maria McNamara. I myself lost a 10-year old sister to brain cancer when I was about fifteen. The poem grew out of this experience of walking through these rows of sunflowers all decorated with these small photographs of children.”

And with regard to the aim of his other poem in Slant, he explains: “It is, I believe, the role of the imagination to push forward new landscapes of dialogue, through synthesis, juxtaposition, surrealism, etc. To discover such a new discursive landscape wherein terms like “East” and “West” are reified with regard to their relationships to each other was a primary goal of the poem ‘Jukebox Mosque.’ The medium or metaphor through which those relationships are being shaken up is, in this case, popular music. The imagination can create new spaces for heretofore incompatible or oppositional cultural forces to talk to each other.”

 You can read Samir’s poems “Maria’s Field of Hope” and “Jukebox Mosque”  at Samir Atassi in Slant. And you can learn more about the non-profit organization Prayers for Maria at  http://www.prayersfrommaria.org.