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

about Rasma

rasma watercolor

I’m an American expat writer from Tennessee, rooted at last on the arctic seacoast of Norway after living in Hawaii, Wisconsin, France, Miami, Detroit and Manhattan with varying degrees of feeling at home. Cultural identity and belonging were central themes in my life long before multiculturalism became the default social structure. My father was among the first highly qualified Indians to study in the U.S. and never return to his homeland, a pioneer in what became known as the great post-war Brain Drain. My mother’s parents were on the opposite end of the spectrum, lumbermen, wood carvers and farmers from late 19th century Norway, peasants of the sort that settled the American midwest. Growing up in the South with these parents, I learned at a young age what it means to not be from anywhere in particular, and have always marveled at people who without hesitation can name their hometown. Someone once challenged me with the question, Why do you write poetry? I answered that every poem is a small exploration into finding my way home. 

I teach British and American studies, a job that requires as much studying as teaching, which is what I love. I also have taught writing workshops and worked with reading diagnosis and remediation. My writing has been published in many American anthologies, but also appeared in the UK, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Norway, Israel and the UAE. You can follow links above to see samples of my writing and the places it has been published. 

I had the honor of being commissioned to write for Only the Sea Keeps (Bayeux Arts), a print anthology commemorating victims of the 2004 tsunami and Borderland, an art exhibit for the blind featuring photography by Thomas Ferrella and ekphrastic poetry written in braille. I was a Vermont Studio resident and have received several distinctions for my writing. They include the Southern Women Writers Association Emerging Writer Award in Creative Non-fiction, the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters & Science Poetry Award, and a Best of Net Award nomination. I’m currently an MFA candidate at the University of British Columbia.