Born to Pakistani-American immigrant artists, Jai Hamid Bashir was raised in the American West. She is the daughter of loomsmith, rug designer and master weaver, Hamid Bashir.
With years of academic training, and a commitment to lifelong autodidactic learning, Jai studies various forms of mysticism and theology, climate justice, decolonization and subaltern literature, birth and death rites, gender and sexuality studies, psychoanalysis, animal studies, human and more-than-human systems, plant medicine, ecstatic dance, classical antiquity, land art, and other forms of inquiry and being.
Jai has an Honors Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in Gender and Sexuality Studies, and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. She also is a proud graduate of the Environmental Humanities program at the University of Utah.
An MFA student at Columbia University in the City of New York, she recently received the Linda Corrente Memorial Prize. Jai also is a recent winner of an Academy of American Poets University Prize, and is the 2020 winner of the Zócalo Public Prize and Nostrovia! Prize.
The sum of her insatiable curiosities, and treatment of the sacred as a location, culminate into aesthetic and visual ecologies found in her poetry. Her primary influences range from Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī to Cecilia Vicuña to Frank Stanford.
Jai has been published extensively. You can view her publications here.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of poets Jai is very passionate about right now: Rainer Maria Rilke, Basie Allen, Aime and Suzanne Cesaire, Marina Tsvetaeva, Bhanu Kapil, Federico Garcia Lorca, Paul Celan, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Frank Stanford, Gary Snyder, Natalie Diaz, C.D. Wright, Forrest Gander, W.S. Merwin, Anna Akmatova, Sylvia Plath, Anne Carson, Jane Hirshfield, Laura Kasischke, Linda Gregg, Ada Limon, Cynthia Zarin, Alice Notley, Cole Swensen, W.G. Sebald, Robert Haas, Solmaz Sharif, Robin Coste Lewis, Anne Waldman, Brigit Peegan Kelly, and, of course, Lucie Brock-Broido