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About this poet

Prageeta Sharma was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1972, shortly after her parents emigrated from India in 1969. She attended Simon’s Rock College of Bard for her undergraduate studies and received an M.F.A. in poetry from Brown University in 1995 and an M.A. in media studies from The New School in 2002.

She is the author of three collections of poetry, Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007); The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), winner of the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize; and Bliss to Fill (Subpress Collective, 2000).

Poet Lisa Jarnot has said, "Prageeta Sharma’s poems are as ever imbued with a crafty playfulness by which the appearances of the I, the you, and the we transcend tricks of the trade. Sharma cultivates mindscapes, scrutinizing the self in the midst of blooming and shifting guaranteed to exhilarate the reader."

She received a 2010 Howard Foundation Grant and has taught in the creative writing program at The New School in New York and in the Individualized BA program at Goddard College in Vermont. Sharma is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana in Missoula.

Folly Stamp

Prageeta Sharma
Clatter into the window this late night.  
We were flabbergasted, tired
of the newly-minted drunks and meth-kids
with squeals for fists.

We live downtown, 
exposed to the alley. 

Nothing dangerous, and we were not alarmed. 
But still, every sound turns us into pins on points,

a sleep of figuring out: deeply felt turns:
wrestling little autocrats

that fly or stick—nothing more than thistles 
or wasps, but a sting is always a sting.

It must be we who are having the trouble: 
it's our estranged perception of thinking.

Are we actually perceiving?  
Do things truly mock us?
Or do we ourselves mock? 

We must find our own modernization bill, 
a folly stamp that appeases us with its generous 
humanizing. We can be reckless, we can overreact.

Let's not be bewildered by the graces 
that sometimes leave us,
by our paunches that are not always gargantuan, 
that we haven't sewn shame in to suit our false selves. 

The fit of relief or deferment is near. 
What we find next is important. 
What would happen if our window 
arranged a life for us—
something intentionally
on view. 

And we looked out at the reconciliation 
of the rest of the world: 
Wasps and drunks and meth-kids
arm in arm in arm in arm.

Copyright © 2012 by Prageeta Sharma. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2012 by Prageeta Sharma. Used with permission of the author.

Prageeta Sharma

Prageeta Sharma

Prageeta Sharma was born in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1972, shortly after her parents emigrated from India in 1969. She attended Simon’s Rock College of Bard for her undergraduate studies and received an M.F.A. in poetry from Brown University in 1995 and an M.A. in media studies from The New School in 2002.

She is the author of three collections of poetry, Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007); The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004), winner of the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize; and Bliss to Fill (Subpress Collective, 2000).

by this poet

poem
I find ways to keep a sense of peace
but it is not always easy; for example,
I can't keep my questions tempered.
What kind of sun expounds its rays
upon the hills but then mutes
like an ordinary bulb, small
and self-contained?
Moreover, what moon filters
the blistering whiteness of
snow so that it can only be
poem

All this noisy commotion isolated a fairly
small universe of nothing special.
I had faced the assistant to the incumbent, 
his failed face of poetry bottomless 
with self-pride and a satisfaction that fed his wolf. 
And he was a wolf
and when I scoffed at him 
with some