Mo H Saidi
www.mhsaidi.com

Poetry

Art in the City: A Book of Poetry

Winner of the 2007 Eakin Memorial Book Publication Award of the Poetry Society of Texas

The Master Class

10 August 2015

 

The Master Class

 

The master class with Laura began with some housekeeping announcements. One says, I’m a retired lawyer, another a teacher, one’s a pharmacist, one physician-writer, and one says, I’m recovering from a disaster. Loss of my beloved.

 

I’m Laura, a visiting professor teaching poetry. Let me know whether the sun bothers you, we should close the window to stop the wind, or let in the birds’ tweets.

 

This one is jovial. She writes about loss of hair, burning skin, nausea, bloody urine, and diarrhea. She doesn’t wear a wig: A bald eagle. She doesn’t remember anything from the lumpectomy. A man says, I’m a convicted reporter from Egypt---though in abstention. 

 

That one is a librarian, and this one writes lyrics for his rock bands, has never written a sonnet in his life. The seventeen years old student seeks advice, 73 marks his notebook.

 


Foreword

Valerie Martin Bailey

S.A.P.A. Poet Laureate, Publisher, and Editor

 

Mo Saidi has the soul of a poet. The poetry within him was a smoldering ember during his childhood in Iran. After completing his medical education, the ember sparked into a flame, which he kept alive during his long and distinguished career in medicine. Now retired, Saidi pursues his dream of writing, and his passion for poetry is a fervent blaze.   

   Saidi’s unique style has been shaped by his life experiences and marked by his knowledge and appreciation of many parts of the world. He is not restricted by provincial interests or attitudes, and although his words are directed to a worldwide readership, his poems are intimate and warm. He is truly a cosmopolitan poet, marked by sophistication and savoir-faire arising from his urban lifestyle and extensive travels. He is distinguished by a diligent pursuit of learning and by an imaginative response to his ever broadening horizons.

   As the editor of Encore, the anthology of prize poems for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, I have an opportunity to read a great deal of good poetry. It was rewarding to see one of Saidi’s poems win a first place and inclusion in Encore. I have watched the development of Saidi’s poetry during the last five years, and I can say without hesitation that Mo is ready to share his poetry with the world. I am delighted to be his publisher and friend.

   Art in the City is Saidi’s debut collection of poetry, and I believe readers of this book will look forward to reading more of his poetry in the future. Find a comfortable nook and settle down for a great read.

 

The Color of Faith: Poems

Pecan Grove Press, 2010




A Note

Wendy Barker

Professor and Writer-in-Residence, UTSA


Mo H Saidi’s second collection of poems, The Color of Faith, carries the reader from the rooftops of Ahwaz in Iran to the plazas of Cuzco and to the Riverwalk of San Antonio. But the poems lead us on more than a geographical journey as they trace a variety of human relationships, both painful and healing. Vividly colored by Saidi’s own intimate knowledge of the Middle East, the poems offer potent observations about the tragedies of war. Saidi is a retired doctor, and his compassion for human suffering and endurance shines through every line of these moving poems.




A Note

James Brandenburg

Writer, Editor, and Certified Poetry Therapist

Author of Two Books of Poetry


Mo H Saidi weaves poetic images and metaphors into the scientist's attention to detail, thus taking us on a journey from his birthplace in Iran to his retirement in San Antonio, and providing us insights into nature, man's faith, politics, art and his concept of love.

 

 


Between A and Z

Wings Press, 2014


Review

 Carol Coffee Reposa

www.amazon.com

 

The title of the book is apt, as its contents take the reader from Tehran to New York, Soweto to Lhasa, Antarctica to drought-parched San Antonio.  The 62 poems in this collection comprise far more than a travelogue, however;  their topics reach from sea to metaphoric sea as well, from the virtuosity of a cellist and the habits of swans to environmental degradation and budding romance in a piano bar.

   Much of the work draws on the author's long and distinguished medical career.  In the haunting poem "Birth," Saidi memorably captures the instant of life's beginning, the "sudden whimper" and "fresh voice."  Elsewhere,  he examines with equal clarity the moment of life's end, along with all the physiological events between  those milestones,  including the ravages of Alzheimer's, which he conveys poignantly in "Quiet George": " He doesn't remember the first son/ who never returned from Vietnam,/ his daughter who now lives in Japan,/ his high school sweetheart, his wife--their/ honeymoon in Cancun--her recent funeral."   In all the poems inspired by his life as a doctor, Saidi brings to bear on the scenes he depicts an all-encompassing compassion and a willingness to look without blinking.

   Saidi's poetry also explores the sometimes tenuous boundary between the literal and the figurative,  the everyday and the visionary.  In the tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville, Saidi harnesses the energy of myth, allegory, and fable to express present-day complexities.  In "Fifty-Five Percent," the poet combines humor and satire to reinvent the Biblical Adam and Eve, recasting them as clueless Millennials who consume mindlessly, spread disease, and pollute the Earth.   Another cautionary fable, "Narrow Streams," also involves a visit to the Book of Genesis, but this time God Himself is the culprit:  in a drunken reverie abetted by Satan, God creates The First Couple, who then proceed to despoil everything around them.  God, having sobered up and repented, moves to another part of the Universe, selects a promising planet, and vows to start over.  Once again, though, Satan takes a hand, serves God "fermented nectar," and this causes history to repeat itself.  God and His creations, it seems, are slow to learn from their mistakes.

   Few human events escape the author's notice--or his laser pen--but in the end it is love in all its permutations that drives his poetry:  joyous love of family; of music, art, and travel; of medicine, friends, and nature; of the entire cosmos.  For Mo H Saidi, the proverbial wine bottle is not half full; it is endlessly brimming.  Between A and Z spreads before the reader a poetic feast. 

 

The Night of the Snowfall

Mo H. Saidi

Published by the Poetry Foundation

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/246566

 

Snow falls gently in the Hill Country

covering the meadows and the valleys.

The sluggish streaks of smoke climb quietly

from the roofs but fail to reach the lazy clouds.

 

On Alamo Plaza in the heart of the night

and under the flood of lights, the flakes float

like frozen moths and glow like fireflies.

They drop on the blades of dormant grass.

 

They alight on the cobblestones and live awhile

in silence, they dissolve before dawn.

The wet limestone walls of the mission

glow proudly after the night of the snow fall.



Art in the City*

*for Stephanie

 

The oboist’s car is in the shop

he takes a deep sigh and waits for his friend.

The cellist lays his case on the back seat.

 

The church is sparsely occupied

by the friends and relatives and a few

senior citizens who can still hear.

 

The concert master rises and plays the A,

her two girls are at home. Brush your teeth.

Her husband has checked their homework.

 

The viola, a filler, shines under the holy light:

It will add some harmony. The bassoonist pulls up

her chair. Ravel’s Bolero. Peter and the Wolf.

 

The music rises harmoniously and fills the air,

it climbs the high walls, it overwhelms the

thunder of trucks and SUVs on the road.

 

The quartet of strings competes with the wind section

the Octet sounds majestic. Only few coughs between

the pieces. The audience knows when to applaud.

 

The oboist glances at the score.

If the relic is authentic, they will clone Mozart,

many more years to produce concertos and operas.

 

The Finale, Allegro Vivace, ends masterfully,

the small audience is on its feet.

Good audience, voluble applause.

 

The oboist dines in the café next door

a glass of wine and pasta with a friend.

Art in the city. Enough to pay for the dinner tonight.

 

Mo H Saidi

From Art in the City winner of the 2007 PST Manuscript Contest