2017 Archives

The meaning of home:

On-the-spot poems for SMU students created by typewriter poet Fatima Hirsi

Fatima Hirsi
Fatima Hirsi
(Photo by Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)

August 22, 2017

DALLAS (SMU) - As SMU students settle into their new homes on campus this week, Dallas typewriter poet Fatima Hirsi will capture their thoughts on the meaning of home with poems she composes on-the-spot. She will be stationed in the Starbucks coffee shop in Fondren Library from 10 am to 1 pm on Wednesday, August 23.


Hirsi is on campus as the SMU community examines the issues of affordable housing and homelessness as part of SMU Reads.  Students and community members read Evicted, Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond for the annual common reading discussion and author Desmond will speak at 6 p.m. Aug. 24  at SMU's McFarlin Auditorium.


Fatima uses a manual typewriter to compose poetry on demand, often clacking away on a street corner in Oak Cliff's Bishop Arts District. She teaches poetry workshops, performs at open mic venues and writes and publishes her own poetry. At SMU, students will share with her what home means to them, then Firsi will compose and type a poem just for them. Poems will be displayed at the Matthew Desmond lecture.



Sample poem:


August 22, 2017

For Lauren --


She knows what it means

to move like water

with the current --

Home has never been a single place.


Instead, it is the contour

of a single face: her mother's

strength radiating from eyes

that have overcome painful seas.


She learned to swim through

the trials of the world

by watching her mother

stay afloat through storms,

never drowning, even singing

through crashes of thunder.

This is how she found the power of her voice, how to forgive

the sky's unkindness and

to be patient when waiting for sunshine.


She knows from her time at home

with her mother

that the sunshine always comes.




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