What has your creative journey been like?
I started in grade 3 writing what I considered as ‘poetry’, because I was obsessed with rhymes and meters. Since then, I have not ever stopped writing, reading, and educating myself about this form of art. So gradually, what originally started as a hobby turned into more of a calling.
I have published two books of poetry in the Persian language—both of which have been somewhat successful considering the times we live in (no one seems to read poetry anymore.).
My first collection, “Lady Gemini” was about me claiming authority over my poems after years of writing. This book reflects the evolution of my poetic style from 2010 to 2015. “Letters of Lead” on the other hand, was an artistic experiment with collaborative poetry and collaging famous poems with my own work, which I found highly educational and unequivocally gratifying.
The next step for me is to publish a selection of my poems in English.
What was your inspiration for In Other Words?
The reason I have decided to write and/or translate my Persian poetry into English is that although the majority of my imagery and motifs stem from the East, the subject matter of my poems is mostly inspired by life in the West. So, for my third collection, I intend to try the English language as a medium.
Only time will tell which one of the two languages is the more suitable medium.
What primary themes are covered in this collection?
I am somewhat of an activist. So, not surprisingly, most of my poems have an underlying social commentary. The specific subjects, however, depend on what is going on in the world. I have written about my take on feminism, war, education, child abuse, and even western and eastern cultural flaws.
Who/what are a few of your poetic muses?
I get inspired by underlying cultural myths and stories that shape people’s experience of the world. And I get inspired by sounds. To me, the way a poem sounds really impacts the reader’s take on the imagery.
Can you describe what your creating process is normally like?
I actually write my poems in one shot and edit them later, and then one last time just before publishing. But if I were to say where those lines in my poems come from, it’s a long process. I read and listen to the radio constantly. What this does, is that it not only gets me to think about things, but also creates a pool of interesting words simmering to be used. When the right time comes—usually when I’m alone or have had some privacy to hear the voices in my head—the words align themselves into a musical statement of my viewpoint about an issue. And that to me is like magic every time. This is why I love poetry so much!
How wonderful! Thank you very much for having this interview with me, Bahar! To anyone who is reading this: Bahar’s poetry book will be released this spring.
Born in 1985, Bahar Almasi is an Iranian-Canadian poet, writer, and cultural activist. She made her début as a poet by publishing in Iranian youth magazines at the age of thirteen. An electrical engineer and a graduate of Knowledge, Media, Design by education, Bahar has continued to produce a wide array of works, ranging from poetry to short stories, plays, articles, translations, journalistic reports, and radio shows, published through Iranian and international outlets. She has also led and participated in various cultural events and campaigns in Toronto. Bahar Almasi has two books of poetry, Lady Gemini (2015, Canada), and Letters of Lead (2016, Iran).