Sometimes you need to forget what you’ve written in order to complete it

Pages 254–255 from ‘The Kurdish Progeny’

I’ve been meaning to make a post about this for the longest time but I never got around to it due to a busy schedule.

This grandiose accomplishment of mine happened in 2019, during a time when I was experiencing a lot of pressure and feelings of overwhelm so I never gave it the love and spotlight that it deserved.

The opportunity to have my poems published for the first time in my life was one of the proudest feelings I have ever experienced. And to have it shared with other fellow Kurdish writers was more than what I could ask for.

I wanted to share this particular poem from my collection in ‘The Kurdish Progeny’ because it may be the best poem I’ve written so far.

But getting to the stage of completion was not what most would expect for a work they’re immensely proud of.

I remember feeling a powerful urge to express this poem, and as some writers may know, poems do not arise as words within us, so they can be very difficult to articulate at times. Writing this poem was one of those experiences.

My poem ‘Take Me to Your River’ was inspired by Leon Bridges’ song ‘River’. I played it on repeat as I was writing this poem. Listening to music when I write poetry is one of the best ways I can harness my feelings into words. However, the difficulty arises when I get so eager and restless to express this strong emotion, but the words don’t come out of me as enthusiastically.

I remember reaching out to a friend to help me figure out if I was overreacting about what the poem sounded like in the initial phase, as most of the time I can do, or if it truly sucked (it did).

When I write some poems I tend to have a few lines written that sound unrelated but are connected to the same theme. They lack the flow from one line to the next, but they all connect back to the same message.

Getting the flow of a poem right is one of the most anguishing things I experience as a writer. The sound of my GCSE English teacher’s voice echoes in my mind: “You have a lot of ambition, Gülîstan, but you lack structure.”

‘The Kurdish Progeny’

So how did I finally get this poem to its final version? I completely gave up on it. I still had time for the deadline so I took some time away from it. Taking away the right amount of time to forget what you’ve written is actually one of the best pieces of advice I can give to new writers because when you come back to it you have a fresh new perspective to your words, and you almost become a reader of your own poetry, which makes you think “wow, did I really write that?!” (One of my favourite feelings in the world!)

Alongside this it allows you to look at your poem from a new angle so all it takes is for you to rearrange some lines, add new ones, and voila, it was easier than what you made it out to be.

It went from being one of the poems I loathed the most to the one I cherish the most.

Thank you once again to the lovely Ruwayda Mustafah for giving me an incredible opportunity that I will never take for granted in my life.

The book can be found on Amazon!

I hope to continue to share my words with you.

Obediently yours,

Gülîstan

Me, holding ‘The Kurdish Progeny’

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