About Esther Kamkar
"Esther Kamkar's poetry is as changing as the ocean, as passionate as a pomegranate tree in blossom, as deep and clear as a pool in a mountain stream. Her poems are lovingly crafted, utterly honest, full of evocative imagery and awakenings that bounce around in our consciousness – to be enjoyed again and again, like a favorite book or work of art. Esther Kamkar's wish? That her words may inspire you and speak to your own poetic and artistic voice. Go ahead, immerse yourself and enjoy."
:: John Waterman - 2005
My poetry bridges the gulf from the far distant home country to the new ground of the United States. I bring my personal journey to life on the poetic page; I make the unifying connection between the experience of all immigrant journeys and the commonality of feeling lost, and then found. The themes and concepts of fitting in, isolation, strangeness, love that binds, and self-definition, speak to the heart of the readers of my work.
My poems demonstrate a large sense of the world. They look outward, directly at injustices and sorrows, and also inward, at my private world and the world of my heart. They tell the stories of the soul.
My voice, the rarely heard voice of an Iranian woman, and an American mother living in the Bay Area, is informed by my childhood memories, dreams, and my poetic imagination in a new language, here and now. I have come from halfway around the globe; I have crossed borders and I do have something to declare. I bring with me a traditional loyalty to community, and a rich heritage of poetry. As a poet, I am constantly aware of the power of this artistic endeavor, its rewards and joys, and the gentle and elegant way it influences and enriches us all.
- Born in Tehran, Iran in 1947.
- Left in 1965 for a 7-year stay in Jerusalem.
- Has lived the USA since 1973, in N. California from 1982 to present.
- Began writing poems in 1989
- Received an Artist Grant from the Peninsula Community Foundation (2001) to publish a collection of her poetry, "Hummingbird Conditions", in a letterpress limited edition, to be used as sample books to teach a series of workshops on poetry and handmade bookmaking to children in the Ecumenical Hunger Project’s summer program in E. Palo Alto.
- Received a grant from the Clay and Glass Arts Foundation (2003) for her project, "Personal Narratives in Poetry and Clay", a series of workshops for children in the Boys and Girls Club in E. Palo Alto.
- US Readings: Numerous venues in the San Francisco Bay Area - Washington DC.
- International Readings: London, England - Penrith, England - St Andrews, Scotland.
PUBLICATIONS BY ESTHER KAMKAR
- Poetry Book: of such things. 2018
Published by Ziba Press, book design by Robert Perry.
- Poetry Book: Hum of Bees 2011
Published by Ziba Press, printed by Blurb and available here.
- Poetry Book: Hummingbird Conditions 2002
Ziba Press, Peter Koch Letterpress Printing Studios. Also printed by Tollbooth Press, in photocopied form.
- Chapbook: A Leopard in My Pocket 1998
Published in many literary journals, Esther Kamkar's poetry has also been anthologized in The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and its Exiles and Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora.
- Bellowing Ark, Shoreline, Washington
- The Monserrat Review, San Jose, California
- The Sandhill Review, Stanford, California
- Present Time, Seattle, Washigton
- Department of Justice, Corrections Academy Curriculum...and many others.
:: Design by Waterman
:: Logo woodcut by Barbara Leventhal-Stern