Poetry is a journey mix of observations and fantasies

Shafqat Aziz in conversation with Humaira Amjad

Young poet Humaira Amjad explains her poetry and motivation to come up with her book ‘Fixing’ with Shafqat Aziz

The youth in a ‘digitized life’ seem deviated from art, culture, and literature, which could be termed as a tragedy of the modern era in the sense of scientific advancements. There have been a number of other socio-political factors that let our youth to not only get depoliticized but also aloof and away from all kinds of creative journeys. The girls in our society, especially in conservative sittings find it really hard to achieve their potential in the fields of art and literature.

Humaira Amjad, a young girl from Multan proved herself as one of the exceptions and surprised many by her beautiful poetry and then compiling it as her first book ‘Fixing’. Through her candid poetic expressions, she could be seen as assuming several roles for herself that varies from a little girl looking for protection to a rebel challenging the dark forces around her. We arranged a special discussion with Humaira to know more about poetry and the creative journey she has gone through. The details of her interview are as follow:

Q:  When did you start writing?

HA: Three years back, I did start it with typing something really minimal on my mobile. It was worth reading (as my friends said), and that was the moment I just realized that I could write. Eventually, I started to write like whatever hit my mind or heart. I translated random thoughts into the words and explored some meanings out of it.

Q: What do you think attracted you to poetry?

HA: The life itself makes me wonder sometimes that there are so many details in it and we need to try to understand them. The poetry I did has been created by the observation of human behaviours and experiences. I just kept observing and carved it in the words that turned out into the poetry. So yes life, nature and humans, everything that Almighty has created, has poetry in it.

Q:  What motivated you to compile your poetry as your first ever book?

HA: Initially, when I started writing, the next thought was of compiling it as a book and to get it published. My writings motivated me as they were small candid expressions towards human emotions. Everyone who happened to read it, while sharing their feeling with me said that it gave them the feeling of going through the same experience. I let the words flow and then I captured that flow in the shape of my book ‘Fixing’.

Q:  You seem playing various roles in your poetry? Are they motivated by imagination or sheer observation of the world around you?

HA: It goes in both way, the imagination and sheer observation. I wrote when the reality was not kind, I wrote when imaginations were drifting from my mind. I wrote when I found observing people was the best way to share emotions, and fantasies. It’s been a great way to show them to have a positive arrogance, which makes you feel yourself and you start believing in your existence.

Q: Could you tell me a bit about your struggle in achieving your dream while living in and part of a conservative society?

HA: I did not face any hurdles by conservative society for being luckier to have the full support of my family. To me, all of them are like superheroes. However, the girls who face such hurdles, I would say that courage is the thing that makes a real difference. Courageous women are the most beautiful humans on the face of the earth. If you believe in yourself for doing something, you will achieve it regardless of anything. The limitations and societies are human-made, I believe that nature has no such limitations and boundaries and so are the humans.

Q:  You have used contradictory expressions about men i.e. from ‘evil’ to ‘good men’. Isn’t it true for all human beings?

HA: Being a woman, we interact with the men and being men they interact with the women, that’s nature. I do not deny the fact that it is true for all human beings. However, what I wrote is written while living in particular moments and based on how I happened to observed it. The moments’ pass, as the nature changes, we turn from evil to good, we turn from good to evil. Hence, all the poetry and prose are moments that are varied to each other. They sometimes give us great feelings and sometimes lead to miserable thoughts.

Q:  A lot of your work seems to have a color feminist poetry. What role, if any, does feminism play in your writing?

HA: To me, feminism is about the individuality of womanhood, and her personal will to be what she wants to be, and does what she want to do. I wouldn’t explain it as if it sounds like feminist poetry, it must be. However, I wrote it in a different way to tell a woman that you must recognize yourself as an individual. I didn’t create a war zone between women and men. It is just how I felt and observed, I thus wrote it down.

Q: Do you think poetry has a purpose? If so, what it could be?

HA: Yes it does, poetry is like a building that constructs over a void land of heart and mind. It serves the other people out of those buildings but wants to fill their void, search for it, read it, get the solace and they live in that building to find that eternal peace.

All of us do not depict our joys and sorrows through words; hence, by reading such expressions, they can channelize their own emotions. It makes the whole cycle complete from the writer’s emotions to the reader’s emotions. Thus, poetry has a great purpose and provides a connection that binds us with each other as human beings.

Q: What was the reaction of people around you when you expressed your will to publish a book of your poetry?

HA: It was just phenomenal, as I shared earlier that I had been luckier in this regard, throughout my life, I had been surrounded by people who encouraged me, and let me explore myself on my own. My parents, my siblings, my teachers, my friends, and every person that I deem closer to me reacted in the best way possible. They told me that I must publish my work and I did it. It all happened with their best wishes and support.

Q: What’s the best experience you’ve gained through your writing?

HA: I have started to see things into details, I want to know what really makes us blind even after seeing things into details but cannot grasp them fully. Writing had given me the recognition of myself, which is an incredible experience. It enabled me to see things that were hidden as we need to explore them by ourselves.

Q: Which poets or poems most inspire you?

HA: Parveen Shakir, as she depicted the women of our society, the depth of feelings she pours into the poetry is beyond imagination. Maya Angelou as her poem ‘Still I Rise’ is just the best voice coming out of a woman who knows herself. Jaun Alia and it’s a long list.

Q: What are you reading at the moment?

HA: I am reading forty rules of love (by ELIF SHAFAK), which is a sheer pleasure to read.

Q: What you would like to say/convey to other youngsters, especially to young girls that are struggling to reach the best of their potential in different areas of life?

HA: Every human is a gift from God coming from the skies to the earth for playing their part as human beings. To me, everyone had been born with different quality and no one is perfect but there is something perfect in every one.  My message to all is to explore that perfect hidden in them. For young girls, I would say they need to be courageous as time will pass and you will regret what you didn’t do. Do it on your own, accept the critique and go on your way as I have written in the book, in the end, you will emerge as a winner.

Shafqat Aziz is a member of the High Asia Media Group editorial team and Assistant Editor of The High Asia Herald.

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