OUR POETRY ARCHVE FEATURED
POET OF THE MONTH
OPA How long have you been writing Poetry? We would like to know the early stories about your growing up as a poet or writer in general. Who are your favorite Poets? What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? Have they inspired you; do you believe in inspiration as a guiding force behind writings at all?
IRSA The first words I have written trying to form a poem (so naive that the age itself), were written 18 years ago. It was December of 1998 when, for the first time, I felt the magic of words coming to me, like a whisper of dreams, or like the light that comes from the soul giving light to the world. I even have saved my first poem, the torn paper with my childlike handwriting; full of mistakes and at the end of the page my name, my signature and the date of that day.
This is my first poem:
A bird tweeted in my window
this sweet song
woke me up,
small bird requested me food
but I bestowed upon the dream
to migrated away.
Its eyes seemed thanked
a tear fell from its soul
and I felt as it said:
"Nobody treated me like you,
and that I never forget."
As I read these "lines" I feel happy that my first attempts to write a poem was dedicated to the theme of gratitude. It doesn't matter what makes us feel grateful, during our journey in life a lot of setbacks are put in our way, and it is important not to forget this feeling. Poetry has changed me.... before I started to write I was a fussy girl, very noisy and unstable. But after I started to dedicate myself more to it, I gained the wisdom of contemplating, I cultivated the tranquillity of reason, but something was never changed in me: being a disobedient rebel not able to make compromises except with myself. And something else I’d like to add a poet is never grown enough to give up on his childhood. I don’t to want to mention the name of one or several poets as my favourites. Of course, there are poets who have inspired me the most with their power of speech or with the ideas that their works transmit, but I more often than not, I don’t judge by the name of the poet to read poetry. Sometimes, to be an authority in poetry doesn't mean that every stanza of him is excellent. Every poem that survives through the years and crosses every boundary deserves to be in a pedestal. I have read a lot, I have grown with books, I love the scent of the paper and I have read almost every great author. I like reading everything that it is in my tastes, every genre especially poetry. I believe in inspiration, but I believe as much in the will power and hard work. The brain is a muscle and like every muscle needs to work. I write each day, of course not everyone deserves to be called literary but I oblige myself to write every day. Because work and experience are equally important to me.
OPA What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a writer? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you write? What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?
IRSA Critique is always changing depending on the publication or how the author has reflected to improve oneself from the critique. I have never had one critique that has put me in difficulties. I have always heard words but time will judge if they are true. They have helped to believe in my writings and by rejoicing their comments and taking seriously their critics. There are always beautiful compliments. The poets are considered a little weird because of the ability to translate feelings in words. I get elaborated compliments but I am aware that they are out of subjectivism. The weirdest thing is when different readers ask me to write about some birthday of their son, for some sister, also girls whom I don’t know ask me to write about their lovers etc. Because they believe poetry can help them nurture their relationships. I don’t have the physical time to reply to each of them but I feel happy that seek shelter in poetry.
OPA What is your favorite poem you have ever written? Compared to when you first started writing, have you notice any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?
IRSA A poem goes through several phases, it is the phase of emotions that collect and pour on the paper. It is the phase of selecting the stream of thoughts and adapting them in lines, and the other phase is reflecting about the final version. The last phase consists in checking the poem in complete coldness trying to be as objective as possible. I don’t have a favourite poem. Sometimes I feel like a love a little more the poems which have been awarded, which have given me the faith that my words are valuable. But as soon as I write a new poem, I feel like this one is a little bit better. I believe this is positive because it motivates me to write. Of course, in time I have grown professionally, in form and in thematic and now I can be the critic of my own poems.
OPA What has been your favorite part of being a poet or and author? What has been your least favorite?
IRSA Poets are guardians of the soul; they speak with feelings, are read in silence, they live with ideals and they believe that the light comes first from the heart. What I love most about being a poet is that I feel that I can read the beauty of a soul, to discover pure human love to understand even the darkest thoughts that lies hidden in our conscience. I love how I feel and understand connotations of words, to use words to register the good that lives in each of us. The least favourite? ...Hhmm, the general opinion of people that poets are with their heads over the clouds. I refuse the bitter reality and that is why I idealize another universe built in innocence, raised in kindness inherited to the Human.
IRSA It is completely impossible in my country to live by working as a poet; it is a luxury I cannot permit to myself. Poets are the least evaluated persons, which would practically starve if they would live only by their writings. I work as a speechwriter in one of the most important Governmental Institutions in Albania. I am also a lecturer in the university I have studied. Of course, poetry it is not only a hobby for me. I cannot see it just like this, poetry gives me the motif to live beautifully, it gives me breathe to have a taste of the eternity in each day. I see poetry as a very serious intention, since that day that the sparkle was lighten inside of me and I haven't allowed it to escape from myself.
OPA Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do? What genre are you most looking forward to explore during your writing career? Why?
IRSA I love travelling; to those places which give me the spirit of romanticism; but also to know the history of places which fanatically preserve their culture, to know the culture of different countries, to meet new people, to play the piano, to take up sports, etc. I have experimented a lot with poetry. I keep investing a lot of time and energy in poetry. I have also written poetic prose, essay, publicist writings and long prose. Probably, because these are the genres which I prefer the most.
OPA: Do you think literature or poetry is really essential in your life? If so why? How does it relate to the general history of mankind?
IRSA Is poetry important in my life? ... No, poetry is the most important part of my life. Poetry is like the glasses that I see the world through. Poetry has helped to shape my personal and professional character, to gain the tranquility and the clarity of thought. To fight for the right and never stop to seek for hope, even when there is not; to never stop giving and taking knowledge; to never stop writing lines even when history is being written by bullets. The history of humanity is preserved in poetry. Because in lines roars the ultimate truth but seen by people who are not able to make compromises, that kneel when they face the truth. These people should be feared because they are unattainable (the conscience of a country written in lines).
OPA Our readers would like to know your own personal experience regarding the importance of literature and poetry in your life.
IRSA If I would go on with the opinion that I was saying previously, I would sum up the importance of poetry in my life, in the stimulation that poetry has given to me to understand better the society, seeing deep and not judging superficially, to know people beyond the appearance but to know them from the inside, to judge them not only by the reason but also with heart; to believe ... to believe that miracles exist, they are un extension of the human inside.
OPA Do you think people in general actually bother about literature in general? Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?
IRSA Technology offers facilities in communication; giving everyone the commodity of having the world in the palm of his hand. Everyone can possess the same information, at the same time, from every angle of the world. Very often I hear that technology has under valuated books. It is not entirely true or entirely proven. If technology has made books worthless, then it has made even humans so. Because a human who doesn't read, it is like a deserted castle worth to be inhabited by rats. But this facility has created to everyone the space to express his ideas like one wants, without going through certain ethical filters, has produced "poets" that write, publish and launch in the market their experience. And being in a disoriented market, uncontrolled and disorganized the readers encounter difficulties to depict true writers from the mediocre ones. Not serious authors will produce not serious literature and will be read not with the seriously that they are produced. But a true author is not interested in being massive; this kind of author seeks for the crust and not the mass. This author writes not to be read temporarily but to become eternal. And is this certain author changes with his art not the mood but the way one sees life.
OPA Now if we try to understand the tradition and modernism, do you think literature can play a pivotal role in it? If so, how? Again how can an individual writer relate himself or herself with the tradition and modernism?
IRSA We live in the present with the experiences of the past on our shoulders. And modernity did not arise out of thin air, but on the ruins of another time, which brought it into attention in a different form. Poetry is living sensation that doesn’t go along with fashion, does not recognize the old times, poetry lives within time and preserves every detail of history. Poetry "renews" tradition, as much as traditionalizes the modern times. This means that the terms melt when arrays are lost; and life always remains the sweet taste of the word. Which means, that poets cannot be divided into traditional or modernist based on the themes they write about neither of the ages where they lived and contributed? There is only eternity that unites poetry and poets that unite generations.
OPA Do you think society as a whole, is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or your poetry altogether?
IRSA Of course, the social environment plays an important role in shaping the character of an individual, much more than a poet; which often is the product of his word and the word of the poet, the product of rebellion for what does not fit to the ideas said in the arrays. Since we are in summer, we can do a little comparison: If the city where the poet grew is the sea, his friendship is the sand, while the human person the individuals are castles built on the shore. But, if in that castle full of dreams comes a wave of power and everything collapses ... are the dreams lost or the sea? You can build the castle again somewhere else far, no wave that can tear it down but the sea will lose beauty in front of him. Like the poet, as traces of the rising and growing company that can feel disappointments, but he is a bohemian traveler who always finds a haven for those who want to read. The poet is not a product of a country; it is a composite of people that enjoy words. I write about the society in which I live, my rebellion writes; speak because I want a more active, more productive and more humane society. And of course that this company is my formative factor and sometimes even the character and actor that forms my string.
OPA Are you a feminist? Can literature play any decisive role in feminism at all?
IRSA I am not a feminist. Because do not believe that there are weak women’s that need my pity. Beyond the fragile female portrait is hidden a soul that knows how to fight for what is worthy and they take everything that they want with strength of mind and will of being. To see women as the weak sex is malevolence to make them feel weak. But I have always thought that being a female is difficult. You have given two different worlds of each - other, which must not only recognize, but also to live with dignity: that out of you, alien world, the egret, what requires to be sufficiently for not ever losing time, independent, determined, invincible; and the inner world, where you feel free to fly with the wings of madness, happy fragility yourself, soft up to seduction, sweet to drunkenness, equipped with the capability of meeting any pain to turn on power , true, ah yes, true to the core, but also the carrier of featureless female instinct never to err. A female without intuition is like a ship without a rudder, taking the evil winds of the times. Oh, after that I said, I let your desire to call me a feminist, or not...But literature can… Give voice to women, because female poetry is as powerful as male strength, also it produces sweetness, a strong sweetness of poetry.
OPA Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality and is it an incentive or an obstacle for becoming a truly international writer?
IRSA Perhaps a writer is the product of the nationality where he lives, but a writer is much more than that ... the wind where image is breathing, it is the reflex of the future is to be built across borders. A writer doesn’t have a place to live to stay; the writer's refuge is home to every reader. A writer is the keeper of your dreams, when involuntarily falls asleep with the book in hand; guest is you everyday life, when from the edge it quietly spies your library ... Surely a writer living in America for example has much more changes to internationalize than a writer who comes from my small country, not as known as Albania. But these are barriers that should not discourage anyone who writes, but should give strength if he believes in his talent, never stop the fugitive and what he believes he deserves.
OPA What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?
IRSA The first method of Presentation:
The second method of - the presentation:
I am the word that the soul turns into poetry.
(PS. However, I believe that to describe themselves will no longer suffice as a whole book written with sheet unwritten (left on the whiteness of the opinion), because a poet often speaks with silence, or makes others keep silent of his speech).
OPA Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?
IRSA Poetry heals the soul, so read as much as you can... You will never feel the same as you escape from the daily life of some beautiful verses, because a friend of the poet is anyone who loves to see beyond the ordinary. Avoid the mistakes made, the desire to understand the poets, because you will never know them deeply or discover the depth of their ideals; you just need to breathe the poet, like air, as higher freedom of the soul, like a poem written over time... But poetry heals the soul, so please read!
The editorial staff of this project: Deborah Brooks Langford, Stacia Lynn Reynolds; sincerely thank you for your time and hope we shall have your continued support.