Prageeta Sharma is the author of the poetry collections Grief Sequence (Wave Books, 2019), Undergloom (Fence Books, 2013), Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007), The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), which won the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize, and Bliss to Fill (Subpress, 2000). She is the founder of the conference Thinking Its Presence: Race, Creative Writing, Literary Studies and Art. A recipient of the 2010 Howard Foundation Award, she has taught at the University of Montana and now teaches at Pomona College.
How does a poet memorialize her beloved without erasing his complexity? Sharma writes candidly of the elegized’s personality — “your death was as sudden as your rage” — and of her unanswered anxieties: “Did he tell the doctor he didn’t love me anymore and that’s why I wasn’t allowed into those conversations?” In doing so, Sharma complicates her narrative away from sentimentality and into reality-fracturing emotionality.
Emilia Phillips, The New York Times
It is clear that Sharma’s thick use of language explores the craft of poetry and what it does to the crafter, the poet. . . . Think of each poem as a wish, a possibility, or another way that could have been.
—Janice Sapigao, Jacket2
Sharma asks pressing questions about what is contained in the poetic ‘I,’ exploring where it transgresses and where it capitulates to expectation. Proceeding with a lyric, analytical, and oblique relationship to personal narrative, the poems enact the graceful ambivalence of Sharma’s statement that 'to find a salvageable concept/ in the word experience,/ we must embrace how it’s milky, how it’s unformed always.'
Subtle and sharp as the needle capturing the starts and shifts of an imagination attentive to beauty and struggle, Sharma’s poems are never gloomy and always gleam.
Staying alive and moving to its rhythms is a fine definition of Sharma’s poetry. I finished her book feeling lucky to be reading in an age when the technology is in place and Prageeta Sharma deft enough with it to produce this volume of truly charming, truly interesting poems.
Reviews of books by Prageeta Sharma
- “My Poem About Last Sounds” (in Boston Review)
- “Hermetic” (in Ploughshares)
- “A Disaster of Insufficiency” (in Triple Canopy)
- “Seattle Sun” (on Poets.org)
- “Sets of Things” (in Poetry)
- “Glacier National Park and the Elegy” (on Poets.org)
- “A Legacy” (on Poets.org)
- “Candor” (in Poets & Writers)
- “Folly Stamp” (on Poets.org)
- “Poem for Leigh Hunt” (on Poets.org)
- “I Didn't See It” (in Boston Review)
- Four Poems (in Brooklyn Rail)
- “What Happened at the Service?” (on Poets.org)
- “Poetry Anonymous” (on Poets.org)
- “A Situation for Mrs. Biswas” (on Poets.org)
- Two Poems (in Jubilat)
Interviews and Discussions
- Tupelo Quarterly, with Cassandra Cleghorn
- The Creative Independent, with Thora Siemsen
- CutBank, with Sarah Kahn
- Poetry Society of America
- Willow Springs Magazine, with Amanda Maule and Shira Richman
- Reading "Grief Sequence 7" on "Poetry Now" from the Poetry Foundation.
VideoAt the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies: