Khashayar Mohammadi | Issue 6
Micro Interview with Khashayar Mohammadi
Kathryn Mockler: What is your first memory of writing creatively?
Khashayar Mohammadi: My first memory of writing is under severe mental duress. Me and a friend were running through a mall until two security guards approached us, twisted our hands behind our bags, and carried us to be humiliated through the shopping centre next to our school where everyone knew us (this happened back home in Iran and this is not a story of racial profiling, but a simple story of the abuse of power). We were held in custody for a few hours and talked to aggressively constantly, letting rage build up while being held down and screamed at. After being let go, I came home and having always been happiest in solitude, with a piece of paper, I wrote a fantasy short story about power politics and heroism. I consider that my first ever instance of “writing as coping” which is all writing is to me really.
Kathryn: How has the pandemic impacted your writing or creative life? Or what has writing in the pandemic been like for you?
Khashayar: I’ve explored different avenues of writing in the pandemic; but I personally found a strong resurgence of collaborative writing. I’ve grown manyfold by collaborating with some of my favorite writers, namely Roxanna Bennett and Klara Du Plessis. At first it stemmed from a coping mechanism, and then wove itself through many recurring narratives of our collective lives in the pandemic!
Kathryn: Several of the poems in your new collection Me, You, Then Snow are in conversation with film. How does film influence your poetry?
Khashayar: I LOVE film so much, but sadly I haven’t written much film poetry in a while. There was an entire 6-7-year period of my life when I was watching an average of 200 films a year, and being steeped in the medium has made my artistic references quite visual and cinematic. I’d like to think that my film poems are my least cinematic poems, that my average poem is quite cinematic in quality since so much of my emotions are referenced through cinema.
Kathryn: You are also a translator. What is your approach to translating poetry? Are you working on a translation at the moment you'd like to talk about?
Khashayar: I used to translate poems I liked in the original language, and it mostly proved to me to be the wrong approach in my honest opinion. I decided to instead, pick poems based on the first nebulous idea of what it would appear in the target language, and separate myself from how much I liked it in the original. After reframing my translations this way, I found that I became a much more efficient translator. I’m currently putting the finishing touches on the translations of a contemporary female Sufi mystic and poet.
Khashayar Mohammadi is a queer, Iranian born, Toronto-based Poet, Writer and Translator. He is the author of poetry Chapbooks Moe’s Skin by ZED press 2018, Dear Kestrel by knife | fork | book 2019, Solitude is an Acrobatic Act and The OceanDweller both by above/ground press 2020. His debut poetry collection Me, You, Then Snow is out with Gordon Hill Press.
Me, You, Then Snow by Khashayar Mohammadi is a collection of poetry woven from dreams, memories and deep-seeded longing, a collection of poetry that ranges from ambiguously addressed love-letters, to ekphrastic poems for arthouse cinema, to pieces written near midnight when the day’s experiences rush back into view. Though working in diverse forms and styles, the poetry manifests as a profoundly unified desire to experience and communicate the world.
Purchase from Gordon Hill Press.
"Queer punk pubs, porn, philosophy, and cinema are dissected & refracted with exquisite tenderness in the coldly brilliant fire that is Khashayar Mohammadi’s You, Me, Then Snow. From the quotidian to the cosmic, like a kestrel in a turquoise sky, Mohammadi’s poems soar in dizzying, dazzling ecstasy. Vulnerable, intimate, darkly comedic, and terrifyingly intelligent, this collection of the “borderline metaphysical” will get you wet, erect, then break your heart, leaving you desperate for more." — Roxanna Bennett, author of Unmeaningable
"Cinematic, sensuous, and deeply perceptive, Me, You, Then Snow turns assumptions of language inside out and celebrates the curiosity of the translingual. Seemingly straightforward language is made to recoil from meaning, then transgress, expand, and flourish across linguistic, geographic, and interior landscapes. Khashayar Mohammadi is an exceptional new voice, and a poet whose writing excites me." — Klara du Plessis, author of Unfurl
Issue #6 of Send My Love to Anyone
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