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About this poet

Shara McCallum was born on October 18, 1972 in Jamaica to Afro-Jamaican and Venezuelan parents and moved to the U.S. at the age of nine. She earned a B.A. from the University of Miami, an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland, and a Ph.D. in Poetry and African American and Caribbean Literature from Binghamton University in New York. Her books of poetry include Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) and The Water Between Us (1999), winner of the 1998 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Her poems have won a college prize from The Academy of American Poets, been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes, and appeared in several journals, including The Antioch Review, Chelsea, The Iowa Review, and Verse. McCallum's poems have been anthologized in The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology (ed. Michael Collier, 2000) and Beyond the Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century. She is the recipient of a Tennessee Individual Artist Grant in Literature and a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. McCallum lives in Pennsylvania and teaches and directs the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. She is also on the faculty of the Stonecoast Low Residency MFA program.

What I'm telling you [excerpt]

Shara McCallum, 1972
Reincarnation, life everlasting--
call it whatever you will--

it will not change
the facts: we are ashes of stellar death.

And, in the end, wishing on shooting stars
is like pinning your hopes

on the last sound of the whistle
trailing off, last chord of the train

sparking on the tracks
then fading into the dark.

From Song of Thieves by Shara McCallum. Copyright © 2003 by Shara McCallum. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press. All rights reserved.

Shara McCallum

Shara McCallum

Shara McCallum was born in Jamaica to Afro-Jamaican and Venezuelan parents and

by this poet

poem
In my time, I was a girl who like to spree.
The whole world would open fi mi

if I shift mi hips to strain
the fabric of mi skirt, just so.

Still, I did learn mi lesson
where love concern: if snake bite yu,

when yu see even lizard, crawling
with him belly on ground, yu run.

Now the gal come to mi, say she