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Voices and Verses

National Poetry Month: “For A Man With One Earring” By Varsha Saraiya-Shah

The Houston poet reads a poem inspired by a moment in traffic on the 610 Loop.


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“Poetry, I think, is really the song of your soul.” – Poet Varsha Saraiya-Shah

In this sound portrait, Varsha Saraiya-Shah talks about poetry as music and poetry as freedom, and she reads her poem, "For a Man with One Earring."

Varsha Saraiya-Shah’s chapbook of poetry, VOICES, was published in Fall 2016 by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Cha, Borderlands, BorderSenses, Convergence and The Texas Observer, and in anthologies such as Between Heaven and Texas (University of Texas Press) and Five Inprint Poets. In October 2015, she was a poet-in-residence at Noepe, Martha's Vineyard Center for Literary Arts. Currently, Saraiya-Shah serves as Treasurer and member on the Mutabilis Press Board and on the Advisory Committee of WiVLA (Women in Visual and Literary Arts). Professionally, she worked for years as a CPA in financial and management roles in multiple industries, and she holds an MBA degree from Cal Poly Pomona, California.


If the hoop belongs to an ear,

Let it be borne, left or right
orientation does not matter.

Let men and women wear brows
pierced for voice,

Let bellies and breasts
be open to voice.

Let studded tongues
rave for the brave,

Kudos to those who adorn both
like the dancers and maharajas,
shepherds and temple-keepers.


This poem was published in VOICES and is reprinted with permission by the author.

To learn more about this series, go here.

Catherine Lu

Catherine Lu

Senior Content Producer & Announcer

While growing up in Chicago and Houston, Catherine’s love for art, music and creative writing was influenced by her teachers and parents. She was once concertmaster of the Clear Lake High School Orchestra and a four-time violinist of the Texas All-State Symphony. A graduate of the University of Chicago, Catherine...

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