ABOUT | R a s m a H a i d r i | Rasma Haidri


rasma watercolor

I’m an American expat writer from Tennessee, rooted at last on the arctic seacoast of Norway after living in Hawaii, Wisconsin, France, Miami, Detroit and Manhattan with varying degrees of feeling at home. Cultural identity and belonging were central themes in my life long before multiculturalism became the default social structure. 

My father was among the first highly qualified Indians to study in the U.S. and never return to his homeland, a pioneer in what became known as the great post-war Brain Drain. My mother’s parents were on the opposite end of the spectrum, lumbermen, stone masons and wood carvers from late 19th century Norway, peasant stock of the sort that settled the American Midwest. 

Growing up in the South with these parents, I learned at a young age what it means to not be from anywhere in particular, and have always marveled at people who without hesitation can name their hometown. Someone once asked me, Why do you write poetry? Perhaps I had never thought to ask myself the question, or perhaps it was because she was a formidable woman, a fierce and passionate poet herself that the answer arose in me without hesitation: I write poetry as a way of trying to find and define home. 

When I say I am rooted at last on the arctic seacoast of Norway it’s because despite the challenges of cultural difference, climate and language that met me when I arrived in 2001, I looked out my window at an undulating succession of mountains, snowcapped even in summer, that reached from the fjord below me to the far border of Sweden, and felt for the first time in my life that I was home. I knew then only by its sudden marked absence the restlessness that had accompanied me since my childhood in the Appalachian foothills.

I teach British and American studies, a job that requires as much learning as teaching, which is what I love about being an educator. I have taught creative writing workshops and worked with diagnosis and remediation of reading problems. My writing has been anthologized in the USA, UK, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Norway, Israel and the UAE. Follow the links above to read samples of my writing and visit the places it has been published. My thanks to the editors who have given my work a home. I encourage everyone to support the small presses and literary magazines that help bring all forms of literature to readers.

I have received a Vermont Studio residency and several distinctions for my writing includin the Southern Women Writers Association Emerging Writer Award in Creative Non-fiction, the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters & Science Poetry Award, and a Best of Net Award nomination for poetry from NewVerseNews. I’m currently an MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia.

I hope you enjoy browsing through my bookshelf!