THE WORLD MIRROR / SPOTLIGHT
Liza Khudr says the focus of her second poetry collection is on the women of her homeland Syria, who live among all kinds of hustle and bustle, rebellion and sorrow, just like the poetess herself. “War infected my poems with the stench of chaos”, Khudr remarks.
Shurouk Hammoud and Hanna Hirvonen, interview
Milla Selin, translation from Finnish
Where are you from and where do you live now, Liza Khudr?
I was born in Tartous (a county in West Syria, by the Mediterranean Sea), in Safeeta to be exact, in 1976. Nowadays I live in the middle of Tartous (a harbour and the county capital), in the kiln the of war.
Has your place of residence affected your latest book, As if it is me?
War infected my poems with the stench of chaos, bullets, and murdered wishes.
Liza Khudr has written a book about Syrian women.
Photo: Rasem Souliman.
Why do you write poetry?
I write poetry to survive
Oh, how great is the spilling of the wine
In the ink interpretation
I write to raise my pleasure with peace
And to go in the revelation Sufism
What is your latest work about?
In my collection As if it is me (2016) I talk about all the hustle and bustle, worry, rebellion, protest and sorrow the women of Syria are living in.
What kind of conditions have you experienced while writing this book?
I have lived among the fears of war, felt worry in my heart. I have lived as a woman who rebels against the faults of society.
How did you publish your book? Is it self-published or did you receive funding from a cultural institution or other organizations? Where can your book be found?
I have published both of my books with my own money at the Baal publishing house in Damascus. Note that I applied for official funding from the Syrian Writer’s Union, but they declined. Both of my books are available at the libraries of Tartous.
What do you feel when you publish a new book?
I feel good about myself.
Are you the same person you were before publishing this book? Did writing the collection and publishing add something to your personality or experiences?
Of course. After publishing, my reputation as a social figure requires the behaviour of a person who respects her name, fame, poetry, and audience. I am careful not to step down from this place I have achieved.
If you weren’t a poetess, what would you like to do?
I would play the violin. I can play the oud and I love to sing.
Which poem you would like to share from your new poetry collection?
I am going to get my manhood completed
As a female I put off my nakedness in the lust eyes
Blessed by the lotus
With a new skin
I began cleaning my lineage from all the maidenheads
From all bad genes
From the historically flawed
And as for having finally a blue door
An eraser and a poem are enough
To blow up their locks trace
Poem Liza Khudr (As if it is me, 2016).
Translation from Arabic Shurouk Hammoud, 2017.
Spotlight column talks about new poetry collections in Finland and Syria.