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Season 1, episode 6

Yasmine Shamma, refugee poetry workshop leader and poetry scholar

This episode, I talk to Yasmine Shamma. She is a writer who is interested in the art of waiting. Yes, waiting, with all its many frustrations. She has written about waiting out the pandemic. And she has written about the waiting that refugees experience. 

Yasmine’s regular job is teaching literature at Reading University. 


In 2016 she started talking to refugees in the camps of Jordan. A few years on, she started running poetry workshops for refugees in the UK.  


With a Leverhulme Fellowship, she interviewed refugees in Jordan, Cyprus, and the UK for a book about displacement. 


Yasmine's book picks: 

  • Strangers I Know by Claudia Durastanti, published by Fitzcarraldo, 2022 

  • How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell, published by Melville House, 2021 

  • Love Signs: Unlock Your True Love Match by Linda Goodman, published by Bluebird, first published 1978 

Yasmine Shamma

Yasmine Shamma is Associate Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literature at Reading University. In her own time, she runs poetry workshops for refugees. 

For her work on migration and literature, she has won a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and a British Academy Grant. 

Raised in Florida and with a DPhil from Oxford, Yasmine is the author of two books on the New York School poets.  

She has written for The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry Magazine, The American Book Review and other publications. 

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