Speaker - Persis M. Karim

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Persis Karim was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area by her French mother, Evelyne M. Karim and her late Iranian father, Alexander Karim. She grew up feeling a little “different” and spent a good deal of her childhood explaining an identity she couldn’t fully grasp. During the 1979 hostage crisis, she had a kind of awakening. After graduating from college at UC Santa Cruz, she felt an immense longing to learn more about her Iranian heritage. In the early 1980s she began learning Persian and got involved with a group of Iranian expatriates who were working to raise American awareness about the Iran-Iraq War. As the 1980s wore on, she felt a longing to become more familiar with Persian language and literature as well as the politics of the Middle East. In 1990 (on the eve of Perisan Gulf War I), she started graduate work at the University of Texas in Middle Eastern Studies. She followed her master’s degree, with a Ph.D. in comparative literature.

She is currently an associate professor of English and Comparative literature at San Jose State University where she teaches literature and creative writing. She has published her poetry in numerous literary journals including Reed Magazine, Alimentum, Di-Verse-City, HeartLodge, and Caesura. She is the author of numerous articles on Iranian American literature and the editor of the forthcoming anthology Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (to be published in May 2006 by the University of Arkansas Press. She is also co-editor and co-author of A World Between: Poems Short Stories and Essays by Iranian Americans (1999). She is currently working on a collection of essays, In the Belly of the Great Satan: Art, Literature and the Emergence of Iranian American Identity. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and her two beautiful sons.

1 Program

Persis Karim

07.08.06 | 00:28:34 min | 2 comments