with A.R. Salandy
Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?
A.R.: I first started writing random bits of poetry when I was 14. Ironically, I used to write loads of prose, even though now, the bulk of my publications are solely poetry. Perhaps quite differently to most writers, I did not have concrete influences through poetic styles or poets in general. My influences poetically stem from poems I have read through education, work or through friends, rather than an innate interest in specific poets. In general, my influences have been the mundane, the political, the postmodern and so on.
Q2: Who are your biggest influences today?
A.R.: I could not say that a big influence exists as superimposed onto me by a specific writer. There are poems I have read by poets I have met and others that have impacted me. However, the biggest influence I have today, is the impact of globalization, postmodernity and the scourge of inequality and inequity at large.
Q3: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influenced your work/describe?
A.R. I spent my first few years in the United States in Arizona & Virginia before moving to my mother’s homeland of Kuwait. As the child of mixed individuals and as a mixed-race individual myself, growing up was always a combination of numerous cultures, ranging from Caribbean to Polish to Persian to British & of course Kuwaiti aspects amongst others. This has created a metaphoric melting pot within my writing as I often draw parallels between societies and the people who inhabit them. Being able to exist within so many cultures, even if, albeit, on the periphery in some cases, I have been able to see their influence slowly progress within my writing.
I absolutely love to travel and before the pandemic would travel quite frequently. Trips that impacted me most include Tromsø in Norway, Vienna, Rome, Prague and Nepal amongst others. I feel extremely privileged to have been able to visit these countries and write as I absorbed their unique characters. In some ways my travels have influenced my work through language in particular as I am an avid language learner, but also through natural imagery and ways of life that are unique to specific countries/cities.
Q4: What do you consider your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far?
A.R.: I feel that much of my 2021 publications have expressed more of the postmodern discontent and discussion of inequality that I would like to pierce the mind of readers. Much of my recent poetry publications have actually come from 2 specific collections which I always find quite funny. In general, I believe much of my work is meaningful, even solely my eyes, as I do not write for the sake of writing, or for fantastical purpose, although I envy those who do. Instead, I write to be a seasoned voice that rises for all those whose suffering blends into a cacophony of anger at the state of all forms of social inequality.
Q5: Any pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?
A.R.: I’ll be honest, I never knew I wanted to be a writer or poet. I still don’t really know. I enjoy writing poetry and I believe, always will. But I also believe that this is just part of the journey, a journey with caveats that end and merge and form anew beyond the confines of career driven success. In some ways, I, like many writers who do not have multiple writing degrees and endless connections or resources to pay excessive submission/competition fees feel quite pushed out of the poetry world. No matter what equality people holler, tokenism, inequality, nepotism and restrictive fees and policies demarcate who can ultimately be a poet in this economy. Fortunately, getting one’s words out is not limited to all male, or singular background groups, the more BIPOC and allied magazines, presses and journals like Fevers of the Mind arise, the more we can hear voices that deserve to be heard, no matter follower count, no matter financial or social background.
Q6: Favorite activities to relax?
A.R.: As a polyglot I am constantly studying my languages. Some say this is not truly relaxing, I beg to differ! Otherwise, I workout everyday and enjoy cooking and occasionally reading a lot of nonfiction and research articles/ opinion pieces of geo-politics and national politics in Britain, the US & Kuwait.
Q7: Any recent or forthcoming projects you’d like to promote?
My second chapbook ‘Vultures’ recently came out on May 25th 2021 with Roaring Junior Press
Q8: What is one of your favorite lines from a poem of yours or others?
‘Tarnished by times barbarous manifestations’ in Simulations published by Nymphs June 2021
Q9: Who has helped you most with writing?
I have occasionally received feedback on my writing typically after it has been published or from fellow writers and friends. However, I generally have not had help with writing. I believe writing, especially poetry should be wholly natural. If it ever has to be teased out and stressed, than I believe I would reconsider if poetry was still for me. Thus, in that regard I do not typically seek help for my writing although I am not opposed to it. I think this ties back to the fact that in general, I am a very reserved person.