Persis Karim, poet, professor and editor, was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area by her French mother, Evelyne M. Karim and her Iranian father, Alexander (both deceased). She grew up feeling a little “different” and trying to explain an identity she couldn’t fully grasp. During the 1979 hostage crisis, she was drawn to the idea of learning more about that country and the history that brought U.S.-Iran relations to a stalemate. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz in 1985, she felt an immense longing to learn more about her Iranian heritage. In 1990 (on the eve of Persian Gulf War I), she started graduate work at the University of Texas at Austin in Middle Eastern Studies. After she received her master’s degree, she followed with a Ph.D. in comparative literature.

She is a professor of English and Comparative literature at San Jose State University where she teaches literature and creative writing. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary journals including Reed Magazine, Alimentum, Di-Verse-City, HeartLodge, Callalloo and Caesuraas well as in the anthologies. The Forbidden:Poems of Iran and its Exiles (2012) and Love and Pomegranates (2013). She is the author of numerous articles on Iranian American literature and co-editor with Anita Amirrezvani of Tremors: New Fiction by Iranian American Writers (2013) editor of Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora (2006) both by the University of Arkansas Press. She is also co-editor of A World Between: Poems Short Stories and Essays by Iranian Americans (1999). She lives in Berkeley with her husband and her son.