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

This page contains a selection of anthologies containing some of my favorite poems and essays. Click on the book cover to learn more about buying the book.

Other selected anthologies here!

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The anthology Sex, Food, Death (2011) by Slipstream press had my poem “Pilau” about my father cooking Indian food for us as children. He could make a meal from what my mother called ‘nothing in the kitchen’. This anthology is out of print, and my copy got waylaid on the pony express, so I have never actually seen the book. It was a popular topic and sold out quickly. 


Charity (2002) is full of vignettes about giving and receiving kindness. My poem here is about when I lived in Hawaii without insurance and crossing the threshold of making a call to the free medical clinic because my writing arm was broken. 

My poem in Adanna Women and Art (2016) is "The Lessons of Oz” about watching the Wizard of Oz in the old days of television when it was shown regularly once a year, which was about all the fright I could stand. One of the lines in the poem is the title of my collection, As if Anything Can Happen, which is currently on the market for a home. 

Adanna does different theme issues, so check out their website for new calls. 


My poem in A Christmas Collection (2001) is about the death of my cousin Gary and my memory of his singing in church on Christmas when he was a child. That tells you that this anthology is not just your regular collection of sweet stories about fir trees, ribbons and bells and snow. 

July Literary Press publishes chapbooks and occasional anthologies.

only the sea keeps

When the tsunami hit in 2004 its impact was felt worldwide. Editors from Asia and America went together to make Only the Sea Keeps, an anthology to raise money for the victims. I was asked to contribute, but felt hesitant. What is there to say? I found the poem at last, based on ocean meditations I had written some years earlier. Some of them are found in the poems section here

I am in awe of this anthology; every poem is a gem. The editors made an enormous effort across several continents to make it happen, and that shows in the quality of the selection. It turns out there is a lot to be said. 

book of hopes and dreams

The Book of Hopes and Dreams (2006) was also conceived to raise money for charity, in this case Spirit Aid. My poem here is about the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago. A 7 year old had been shot by a random sniper on his way to school, making the project national news. That was in the early 1990s when such things were not commonplace. One late December night I found myself passing by Cabrini Green, and wrote a poem about the Christmas lights in the windows. 

crossing cultures

My essay “Urdu, a Love Story” was reprinted in the college textbook Crossing Cultures 7th edition (2008), after first appearing in Waking Up American by Seal Press. Crossing Cultures does a great job helping students reflect over and write about aspects of culture as well as rhetorical devices used in the essays. The writings are by some of America’s most famous cross-cultural people: Sherman Alexie, Gary Soto, David Sedaris, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maya Angelou, Amy Tan, Pico Iyer, Geraldine Brooks. It is really a fine anthology that makes for good reading outside of a classroom. 


When I saw a call for poems about women and laundry , I had to get involved. My poem in Lvanderia: A Mixed Load of Women, Wash and Word is about ironing my husband’s shirt. There are over 300 pages of poems on this fascinating subject in this anthology by City Works Press. 


The Great American Poetry Show is now in its 4th series. It’s an amalgam of poems that strike the fancy of editor Larry Ziman. He wants you to send bundles at a time, and they can be previously published. 

My poem in volume 2 is “The Last Photograph of My Father” about the one and only time my mother of her own accord wanted to be included on a photograph. He died the next day. 

Not a Muse (2009, Haven Books) is a difficult anthology to get a hold of, unfortunately. (You can try Amazon in the sidebar.)  It includes a wide array of more than 100 women poets from some 24 countries, over 400 pages of poetry. The preface by Laksmi Pamuntjak and introductions by editors Viki Holmes and Kate Rogers discuss the need for such an anthology, which is good reading in itself. 

My prose poem “The Arrowhead” was first published in Fine Madness. It was written at Light House Studios in Wisconsin, an artist residency surrounded by newly plowed fields where I walked instead of writing poems and ended up writing the poem about walking in newly plowed fields.

ice floe cover

Ice Floe was a literary journal of poetry from the polar regions of the world, which includes parts of Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway as well as Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska. I discovered it shortly after moving to Norway in 2001 and several poems appeared here over the years. After the magazine folded, the editors put together this volume of “New and Selected Poems”(2010) and included one of mine from a previous issue. “The Persistance of Memory” is about opening a Christmas box sent by my sister-in-law, in which was a yellow bag of M&M peanuts, and a plethora of memories. 


The Writing Group Book anthology of essays is a must if you are interested in forming a manuscript critique group, teaching creative writing, or even if you are just interested in different views of the critiquing process. In 1989 I and four other women poets started meeting to share and discusss poems. My essay in this anthology chronicles how we grew as writers, helped by our innate understanding of how our group relationship must grow. The essay is called “Six Voices”  which is what we called ourselves when we did reading tours in Illinois and Wisconsin. I moved from the continental US in 1999, but the group (now known as The Lake Effect Poets) is still going strong.

front cover

The very first issue of Fourth Genre (1999) included my creative non-fiction piece, “What the End is For” (title nicked from Jorie Graham’s poem). The link will take you to where the essay was reprinted in Redux, an online magazine featuring previously published work that deserveds a new day in the sun. It includes some words about my impetus for writing the essay, and how my discovery of the essay genre through a chance encounter with Michael Steinberg, taught me that many a failed poem was an essay trying to be born. 

“What the End is For" is about the death of my mother, and a tiny coca cola machine I had as a child, with real soda fountain style glasses inscribed with coca-cola on the side. Like all essays, it is ultimately about an eureka moment of self-insight. 

The adage you can’t tell a book by its cover was never truer than for The Pocket Poetry Parenting Guide (2000), an anthology of 26 poems about parenting from Puddinghouse Press. I really don’t like the color and motif, but Jennifer Bosveld put this together as a “limited-edition fine-art collection” so I defer to her judgment and reputation as the premier chapbook editor of her day. The 26 poems she selected are certainly on the par with her standard of excellence. 

I like what she writes on the inside cover to the purchaser: “You selected language art that took as long to create as paintings or other fine art.” My poem, “On Returning Home Late”  was written after returning home from an evening spent with poet friends. The host sent us off with the task: write a poem using the line 'it is the beginning of a painting'. 

Jennifer was very committed to making this volume a useful tool for parents. Free copies were distritubed to women’s shelters, the local social welfare office, libraries, and so on across the USA. Proceeds from the book went to the “Parenting in public places project”. It is out of print, but the cover will link you to a possible place to get a hold of it.