How can poetry set you free?
The second response in our National Poetry Month series comes from author Hasan Namir who explores freedom from a lens of self-discovery and self-actualization. Enjoy:
“Poetry is my therapy. Poetry has always been the vessel of my emotions.
When I was 16, whenever I felt sad I would always write poetry. The free-verse space allowed me to write openly and with transparency. Often, with poetry, I free-write and so I would just write and write without thinking about it too much and that act in itself would heal me. I would feel much better after that.
I’ve always I wanted to write poetry. My perception of poetry has evolved over time. When I worked on War/Torn, I was still closeted and I was exploring my own queerness so the poems were reflecting that. I was afraid to write my own personal poems. I was afraid of getting backlash.
When I worked on Umbilical Cord, I was at a stable place in my life and lots of exciting things were happening with Malek, my son. So the poems reflected that. I wanted to highlight some of the big events that happened in my life prior to Malek being conceived. So I reflected on the ups and downs in my life. I wanted to highlight my feelings in the simplest way possible because I wanted the poems to touch the hearts of many people.
Every experience that I’ve had with writing poetry has really freed me, has taught me a lot of things about myself, my loved ones and my poetics.”
– Hasan Namir
Hasan Namir is an Iraqi-Canadian author. He graduated from Simon Fraser University with a BA in English and received the Ying Chen Creative Writing Student Award. He is the author of God in Pink (2015), which won the Lambda Literary Award for Best Gay Fiction and was chosen as one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by The Globe and Mail. His work has also been in media across Canada. He is the author of poetry book War/Torn (2019, Book*Hug Press), children’s book The Name I Call Myself (2020, Arsenal Pulp Press), Umbilical Cord (Book*Hug Press) and Banana Dream (2023, Neal Porter Books). Hasan was the 2021 LGBTQ2s+ guest curator for Word Vancouver. He lives on the unceded territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo and Tsawwassen First Nations. with his husband and their child.