Meet our 2017 fellows: Asiya Wadud

Asiya Wadud

Asiya Wadud’s recently completed collection, crosslight for youngbird, largely contains pieces about the refugee crisis sweeping Europe. You can find her poems in The Felt, The Recluse, the PEN Poetry Series, Rattle, and SUBLEVEL, among other journals. Asiya has received support from Brooklyn Poets, Home School Hudson, the Academy of American Poets, Fondazione Pistoletto, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Asiya teaches second grade in the daytime at Saint Ann’s School and English to recently arrived immigrants in the nighttime. Her chapbook, we, too, are but the fold, is forthcoming from Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs (2017) and crosslight for youngbird, her first full-length collection, is forthcoming from Nightboat Books (2018). She lives in Brooklyn, New York. She loves New York for its parks.
Asiya writes, “In Kevin Young’s essay ‘The Shadow Book’, he writes about a book that is ‘situated on the cusp of fiction and history—and trying to find the truth in both’. That’s a concept I want to explore in my current project: how narrative, based on truth and fiction, can begin to tell a more nuanced story about the refugee crisis to American audiences. I’m interested in situating my own pieces as ‘companion shadows’ or addenda to existing pieces or news stories.

This July at Dickinson House, I will:

  1. Continue to mine what it means to be anchored and unmoored by home, as well as explore the relationships that persists in the shadows and home, exile, and return.
  2. Write 14 new shadow/ negative space pieces (i.e. a poem a day) that are in response to emerging news stories about the refugee crisis.

I am singularly propelled by the things relegated to the shadows, and it is the possible light that continuously catalyzes my work. The landscape at Dickinson House is so immediately generous, inviting a certain openness of mind and spirit. This seems like a good place to probe what’s in the shadows… . I want to feel buoyed by the quiet, giving outdoors and I want to be invigorated by the work of the other residents. Anything can be light when you name it light… I want to explore that idea as well as its underside (the underside of a shadow can be the eventual light).