The Only Other
"In The Only Other", Natasha Ria El-Scari sets before us a feast of verse, and leads us through a complex tasting ritual. One the menu: the complicity of betrayal, the crystal ball of dreams, and reflections on rage and the anxiety of secrets. There are places where we can taste our own blood, but El-Scari's transformational voice assures us that even as we query the tension between feminism and romance, or romance and intellect, or intellect and biology, we will leave the table nourished.
--Treasure Shields Redmond
With both vulnerability and brutal honesty, Natasha Ria El-Scari challenges us to take a look at the other side of love. Writing from a new perspective with her characteristic courage and wit, Natasha gives a voice to the often villainized "side chick". Expertly crafted and startling in their revelations, these ain't no ordinary love poems. The Only Other may make you flinch but this collection secures Natasha a place on the top shelf of contemporary African American poetry.
"The Only Other" is lovesick, weighty in its interior, and boldly beautiful in its back and front story. Whether readers devour "Grapefruit" to "You Would Too" in one sitting, or methodically graze upon it in alphabet chunks, its word choice, tactile imagery, storytelling and truthiness leave no room for page skipping--all the poems unapologetically come (un)done on each page screaming me too, me too.
About Natasha Ria El-Scari (Kansas City, Missouri & Kansas Author)
Natasha Ria El-Scari is a poet, performer, writer, Cave Canem alumna, Ragdale Residency recipient and educator for over a decade. Her poetry, academic papers, and personal essays have been published in anthologies, literary and online journals. She has opened for and introduced many great writers, singers and activists, and has been featured at a host of universities and venues nationwide. Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, Natasha has a BA from Jackson State University and an MA from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Natasha’s Black Feminist approach is reflected in her writing, poetry and performance pieces. Once asked in an interview what makes her unique she replied, “…most people lie to themselves, but I like to reveal myself.”
In 2015 Natasha released her first book, Screaming Times (Spartan Press, 2015). Of her work, critic and poet Denise Low writes, “Poems lift off the page, almost reading themselves. Unlike some performance poetry, her words translate well to the printed page.” Her second book, The Only Other (Main Street Rag, 2016) dives into the taboo voice of the other woman. In 2019 Natasha released her first self-published and non-fiction book in collaboration with her son entitled, Mama Sutra: Love and Lovemaking Advice to My Son. In 2020, Natasha self-released, I Say, T(He)y Say a chapbook about a special decade in her maternal grandmother’s life. In the same month she released Growing Up Sina, her first novel created after challenging herself creatively to grow outside of her first love, poetry.
Natasha’s CDs, DragonButterFirefly (2006), This is Love… (2010), CuddleComplex (2016) and DVD Live at the Blue Room (2015) display how Natasha connects with any crowd with maternal warmth and unrelenting honesty. This mother of two is also the founder and curator of Black Space Black Art, an organization created to promote the exhibition of African American visual arts and businesses. She is also the founder and curator of the El-Scari Harvey Art Gallery, a small art gallery that focuses on exhibiting marginalized artists and creating relevant events. For details and booking: www.natasharia.com