An Interview With Poet and Creator Fatimah Asghar

Poet Fatimah Asghar has become notable in her diction, creation, and diligence. She has flourished as a touring poet, co-creator and screenwriter for her web series Brown Girls, and educator. Her works have been featured in publications such as POETRY Magazine, Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, and Buzzed Reader. Fatimah also has a chapbook entitled “After”, which was released in fall of 2015. Reading her work has instilled a firm drive in me to continuously embrace and acknowledge the cultural facets of my identity. Pieces such as If They Should Come For Us and WWE have exemplified and captured the sustenance and fluidity underlying her writing. Her pieces are refined with a strong sense of narrative and sentiment that encapsulates identity and perspective. I received the remarkable opportunity of interviewing her regarding these pieces and how they’ve allowed her to blossom into the writer she is.

B: Who are your biggest influences and in what ways have they molded your writing skills and perception?
F: I’m influenced by a lot of different kinds of art, events, and people. Basquiat has a quote which is along the lines of “influence is someone old though going through my new mind.” I love that, and I feel like that is very real. I’m influenced by so many things around me, and I try and let things sit inside me for a while if they intrigue me.

B: What have you discovered about yourself while writing poetry?
F: Many things! There’s been a lot of times that I’ve written something and realized something about an experience, or about myself. Like maybe I felt like something was wrong but didn’t know quite what it was until I worked it out in my writing,

B: Do you think words are as revolutionary as actions?
F: I think this is a false dichotomy. Both have a lot of power and we need to wield them wisely.

B: How have you grown closer to your identity and culture through writing?
F: Yes, I have. Writing was a huge way that I was able to really embrace a lot of my identity that was hard for me growing up and to find pride in it, as well as my lived experiences. In particular, being able to write about things that happened to me that were traumatic or not so good helped me feel like I was in control of my narrative, rather than the other way around.

B: What is your typical writing process? Do you just pick up a pen and go?
F: It depends on the day and on my mood. I like to write in the morning. Sometimes I have something bursting out of me and want to just get it down as soon as I can. Sometimes I stare at a screen for a long time and can’t write anything. Sometimes I write by pen and paper, sometimes I write at my computer.

B: Where do you seek most of your inspiration from?
F: From my community around me. I am very in love with the Chicago artistic scene and am constantly being pushed to do really cool things. So, it’s great to be able to go to a local show or gallery opening and just feel really moved by the pulse of the city and people.
To explore more of Fatimah Asghar’s words and projects, visit her website.

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