'Hum of Bees' - by Esther Kamkar
"In 'the blue door of a poem', Esther Kamkar opens us to journeys close to home and wandering in the great expanse of the world. Kamkar's poems are threads that weave together a complex story of many cultures and perspectives; each poem has a simple elegance sweetened with the honey of sincerity. Hum of Bees will take you places and will linger with you a long while." — Persis M. Karim, poet and editor: "Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora"
"With sensuality of image and ferocity of vision, Esther Kamkar reminds a reader to look and to think".
— Lisa Allen Ortiz, poet, "Turns Out"
"Esther Kamkar's poems are beautifully crafted arrows headed straight from her heart to yours — sometimes whispering a word-song only you can hear, sometimes crackling with energy, sometimes wrapped in deep, deep silence that can take your breath away".
— John Sweden, poet and artist, Auckland, New Zealand
"Esther Kamkar's poetry is like no other — exploring the experience of exile and discovery, longing and memory, and the healing that comes from the body's own songs. This volume is as enchanting as an angel's whispers and wise as a tree with deep roots."
— Peter Neil Carroll, poet: "Riverborne: A Mississippi Requiem"
"Esther Kamkar's voice reflects the sensuous depths of human experience. Kamkar's writing is rich in the texture of senses, the I and thou often blurred; she opens the way for us to keenly experience life in the here and now." — Gretchen Leland, poet
Published 2011 by Zibapress, Palo Alto, California.
'Hummingbird Conditions' - by Esther Kamkar
A small selection of poems written over a 10-year period resulted in 'Hummingbird Conditions', with the help of a grant from the Peninsula Community Foundation. My responsibility and privilege was to use it as a sample book in a workshop teaching poetry and bookmaking to students at the Ecumenenical Hunger Project in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Esther Kamkar: "In our "First Thought" word game, one student would often respond to a word I offered, not verbally but with a riff, a jazz riff, moving his body to the rhythm. At first he was sheepish, but he noticed my delight and continued to respond to the words with his own first thoughts, using the music of his own voice and body.
I introduced alliteration as a poetic device and one of the most powerful catalysts of our writing practice was the alliteration, "Hate Hurts". Students were asked to write about a time when they were the recipients of some kind of prejudice - the color of their skin, their native language, their country of origin – and how it made them feel.
In an atmosphere of safety, students were able to express their feelings, both verbally and in writing. Students wrote their own "Just Because..." poems, indignant of stereotyping. Because our workshops were built on caring, students blossomed and I believe their lives were enriched by the seeds I planted in their brilliant minds and tender hearts.
This project also helped me in ending my poet-in-exile status, to be hopeful about building community and being part of it."
:: Design by Waterman
:: Logo woodcut by Barbara Leventhal-Stern