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Berkeley Talks: Poet Aria Aber reads from her 2019 book 'Hard Damage'

By Public Affairs

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portrait of aria aber smiling

Aria Aber (Photo by Sally Wen Mao)

In this episode of Berkeley Talks, Aria Aber, a poet born to Afghan refugees and raised in Germany, who now lives in Oakland, California, reads from her first book of poems, Hard Damage, published in 2019 . The early November reading was part of the UC Berkeley Library’s monthly event, Lunch Poems.

Here’s her poem, “Dream with Horse”:

Already, November makes a fool of me. Sun secretes its tacky, yellow gauze on what the snow melt has divided. Slaughterhouse. The domesticated nag. I am at a loss in the shadow of the spruces. I freeze. A faint scent of equine. Taught as a tuning fork, I meditate on the horse’s heavy meat, its nostrils glistening like a liver laboring to breathe. The real shackle of course isn’t my flesh, but my mind’s harness committing its slow violence through my eyes. Looking for a sign, I smear on snow my sputum, then hair. Not a day passes that I pass as belonging here.

Lunch Poems is an ongoing poetry reading series at UC Berkeley that began in 2014. All readings happen from 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. Find upcoming talks on the Lunch Poems website and watch videos of past readings on the Lunch Poems YouTube channel .

Listen to the full reading in Berkeley Talks podcast episode #103: “Poet Aria Aber reads from her 2019 book Hard Damage .”