How Many Blues?

How many words for blue are there
in your language? I answer this as if
I know – blue sky, blue feeling, blue
eye. I want to know the word for blue
in Swahili, in Russian, in Arabic.

I want to taste and breathe it, drink
from its tenderness and power. I wonder
if Gauguin understood blue differently
in Tahiti? I suspect that blue stretched his
mind and cast him out of the prism where
he knew the ache of too-blue.

And the Navaho? What does blue mean
to them? They live in the blue light of red
where shadows cannot bear the blackness
and so–and so, people of the desert
see Ravens in their true color, the blue-
black of all beginning.

by Dean LaTray and Persis Karim 3/1/17


Gather your friends, gather yourselves, every
breath of you is needed for the long
dark winter opening before you.
Your open eyes must open wider
to see the light piercing the small
crack in your broken heart.
turn toward those you love
and toward those you do not know
for never did we need a stranger’s
kindness more than in this instant.

(November 9, 2016)
by Persis Karim — for my fellow human beings everywhere

Interview: ‘Tremors of Iranian American Writing’, Michigan Quarterly Review, October 24, 2013

Michigan Quarterly Review
Tremors of Iranian American Writing
October 24, 2013 by Kaveh Bassiri

Persis Karim, a pioneer in the field of Iranian American writing, co-edited with Anita Amirrezvani Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers, (2013). The first anthology dedicated to the Iranian American fiction, this landmark book celebrates the advances of Iranian American literature, especially in the past decade.

Michigan Quarterly

Interview: ‘New Windows into the Iranian American Experience: An Interview with Anita Amirrezvani & Persis Karim’, World Literature Today, May 15, 2013

World Literature Today
New Windows into the Iranian American Experience: An Interview with Anita Amirrezvani & Persis Karim
May 15, 2013 Sara Wilson


World Literature Today

World Literature Today


As the notion and possibility of “national literatures” is examined both in the academy and in print culture at large, Karim and Amirrezvani bring together writers, texts, and perspectives that amplify the idea that American literature is world literature.