Friday, May 1, 2020



MAY 2020

APRILIA ZANK: According to the American poet Robert Frost, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

Can, in your opinion, all thoughts be 'translated' into words?

HELA TEKALI: I agree with the statement of Robert Frost who is doubtlessly my favourite poet , but I will add that thoughts not only must be ‘translated’ into words, but also into ‘actions’ for poetry cannot be an ‘achieved tract’ without being put into a firm ‘act’, which has ultimately to do with the religion of love, humanity, justice, spirituality, and above all spreading the Will of Almighty God on our Beloved earth.

APRILIA ZANK: The English romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley once wrote: “Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar.”

Can you explain how poetry unveils the hidden beauty of the world?

HELA TEKALI: I have once written that

“Your ego is a veil between you and your fairy tale,
lift up its dreary curtain for love to be certain.’’

I totally agree with Percy Bysshe Shelley when he claims that: “Poetry unveils the hidden beauty of the world” since poetry is the one of the most spontaneous genres of writing, it henceforth deals with the inner self, as it flows randomly from the layers of the soul. Poetry is ,thus, one of the most transparent doors to ‘inner beauty’, and the truest gateway or pathway to grace , it is a cure to the soul once the poet becomes a mirror to himself , and realizes the genius behind his pure soul. When the poet takes a supernatural, or a hidden thing and makes it sound familiar this is how he turns the magic into reality, and thereby lifts up the veil behind the hidden beauty of the world.

APRILIA ZANK: The American poet of English origin W. H. Auden was convinced that, “A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”

Do you think that poetic language should always be refined and cultivated, or may it also be rough and raw if necessary?

HELA TEKALI: I think that the poetic language should be always refined and cultivated, then be kept rough and raw even though this may also depend on the type of reader, whether he is an avid reader of poetry, an enthusiast, or he belongs to a low-level readership. I have once written that ‘poetry is the flame that burns but does not extinguish. It is the fire that can’t be expunged by any language.” In spite of the poetic devices, and the level of diction that must be respected whenever one writes a piece of art while keeping at pace with the prevailing genre of his century, taking into account, the stylistic, as well as, the linguistic and poetic skills. However, this does not exclude the fact, that in my opinion, a good piece of writing is the one that leaves its imprints on the reader’s mind thanks to the didactic, and prophetic message it carries despite the fact of shedding the light on its refinement, or roughness.

APRILIA ZANK: Please consider the following statement of the English scholar and poet A. E. Housman: “Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out... Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.”

Do you write or prefer explicit poetry with an obvious meaning or message, or rather more cryptic, challenging poetry?

HELA TEKALI: I’d rather prefer to write cryptic or challenging poetry with an underlying message, or meaning. Indeed, I am for mystical or Sufi poetry that carries a hidden lesson, and leaves an open door for a free interpretation from the side of either the reader, or the literary critic. I do not think that there is a ‘perfect understanding ‘of any poem whatsoever, since the audience may differ, they may either be religious, atheist, spiritual, or even antagonistic.  When taking the example of sufi poetry some readers may stop at the erotic message expressed in the verses , while others may read between the lines since this ecstatic pleasure heightens the spirit from the shallow, bodily , or fleshly desire to experience the most heavenly , spiritual, mystical nirvana , as it is stated in those lines from the Rumi:

“In your light I learn how to love
In your beauty how to make poems
You dance inside my chest when no one can see you
But sometimes I do
And this sight has become this art.”

APRILIA ZANK: “Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.”, is a famous quote by the German romanticist and philosopher Novalis.

To what extent can poetry have a therapeutic effect?

HELA TEKALI: I once said: ‘’ That poetry is the best therapy to the self in the form of soul healing.” And that ‘Everything starts with the scar for the wound to bloom into a blessing star.”

I totally agree with Novalis’s statement, Poetry is more about intuition than reason as it deals with feelings and insight rather than mere logic. As Ernest Hemingway wrote in his famous quote that ‘There is nothing about writing than to sit at your typewriter and bleed.” The best form of pleasure, the search for peace of mind, and the sensation of tranquillity that the poet can achieve is through this “ spontaneous overflow of emotions’ inked by his bloody pen which can be the outcome of suffering, misunderstanding, sense of solitude, grief, sorrow, or dissatisfaction from society and his incessant endeavour to change the reality of his surrounding, or bring a decisive turning point emanating from his revolutionary thoughts.

APRILIA ZANK: According to Salvatore Quasimodo, an Italian poet and literary critic, “Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.”

Is, in your opinion, the poet primarily a personal voice, or rather the echo of his fellow beings?

HELA TEKALI: The poet is both a personal voice and the echo of his fellow beings. Ordinary beings sometimes are incapable of translating their wrath or dissatisfaction about society into words, or actions. It is up then to the poet to take the initiative, and to turn what he sees, as wrong or an unacceptable conduct in his society into persuasive or convincing euphemistic and poetic eloquence. The poet, then ,acts as a personal voice on behalf of his fellow ordinary beings, as well as, an echo speaking in the name of a whole community, spreading light behind darkness, justice behind unfairness, and love behind hatred .He is a seer, who plays the role of a didactic messenger, using his highly philosophical discourses to connect with the supreme forces of nature , endeavouring to establish eternal justice on earth.

APRILIA ZANK: The American literary critic M. H. Abrams asserted that, “If you read quickly to get through a poem to what it means, you have missed the body of the poem.”

Do you also think readers need to be educated as to how to go through a poem? If 'yes', in which way?

HELA TEKALI: Certainly, readers have to be educated to know ‘how’ to go through a poem. We have to scan and skim the poem, stop at every poetic device, stylistic and linguistic structures. Many poems have hidden messages, cryptic or even challenging allusions, that require a highly cultivated, or an erudite reader to fathom into its hidden connotations. The complexity of the poem requires an experienced reader who is able to decipher the underlying, profound level; and not to rest at the literal level.

APRILIA ZANK: Let us now consider the words of the American songwriter and poet Jim Morisson: “If my poetry aims to achieve anything, it's to deliver people from the limited ways in which they see and feel.”

Can you please tell us how poetry can be/become educational?

HELA TEKALI: Poetry can become educational likewise as Nelson Mandela stated: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Through its didactic and metaphoric message, poetry can influence the world, and be influenced by it. Indeed, strong emotions and the power of feelings transmitted through this piece of art can change the way we think, behave, or even feel. Like the Romantic poets in the 18 th century, who primarily led to the industrial revolution , and Enlightenment, and were able to establish a metamorphosis from a society blindly believing in rationality into a society where romanticism, power of strong senses, intuition, insight, celebration of the individual, importance of imagination , nature as symbol of life , and as a ‘ caring nurse’ became the prevailing attributes of the Enlightenment era.

APRILIA ZANK: The British-American poet T. S. Eliot claimed that, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.”

Do you sometimes/often experience 'love at first sight' for poems that you have not understood immediately/completely?

HELA TEKALI: Of course, I do believe that we can fall in love with a poem at first sight but it depends on the power of delivery, or revelation from the side of the poet. Not all poets are ‘genuine’, ‘authentic’, ‘spontaneous’, ‘colourless’ in their insight, and are capable of arousing such impact on the enthusiast. I do believe that a romantic poet like William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, or William Wordworth is able to indulge the reader in his wondrous, sensitive, imaginary, revelatory, supernatural mainstream, than a rational poet could perhaps ever arise.

APRILIA ZANK:  Paul Valéry, a French poet, essayist, and philosopher, said: “A poem is never finished, only abandoned.”

Do you also think that the final 'embodiment' of a poem happens in the mind of the reader?

HELA TEKALI: I do not think that any poem is abandoned since its didactic message is always open to interpretation done on purpose by the writer to invite the reader to visualize the ‘embodiment of the poem’. Each reader may envision a specific version of the lesson acquired from the poem according to his experience in life, or past mistakes that s/he endeavours to avoid in his present situation, and the blessings he expects for the future. I think that every poem is never finished or even abandoned, but a piece of enlightenment drawn by the poet to incite the reader to be as imaginative, and visionary as the poet.

APRILIA ZANK: The famous British-Indian writer Salman Rushdie believes that, “A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.”

Should, in your opinion, poetry have a strong social and/or militant component?

HELA TEKALI: Poetry indeed has both a strong social, and a military component. In periods of colonisations, many revolutionary poets compose poems with anti- social, and anti-political allusions to incite the public stance to take on militant decisions to defend the interests of the country from political turmoil, social injustice, sex discrimination, racism, slavery, despotism, unfair imprisonment, and to take decisive actions to stop imperialism, and call for independence.

APRILIA ZANK: The poetic credo of the highly influential American poet Maya Angelou was the following: “The poetry you read has been written for you, each of you - black, white, Hispanic, man, woman, gay, straight.”

Do you also think that your poetry addresses a large and varied audience?

HELA TEKALI: All poetry must address a highest audience. Poetry is a universal plea, or a nationwide appeal to stop all forms of corruption, injustice, racism, sexual abuse, ethnicity, rape, religious fanaticism, etc...I believe that my poetry is a call for a religion of love, and above all the awakening of the soul. Despite our religious creed, my poetry is a message for all varied audience to open their third eye, and see that the body is just an ‘entropy’, a ‘simulacrum’, a ‘Da-Sein’ as Martin Heidegger coined it; the body alone cannot lead to a ‘ pure consciousness’, but it is a crucial vehicle or a medium to awaken the hidden beauty inside us, and to harmoniously connect with the divine energies of nature that allow us to be creative, imaginative, visionary. The world is full of ‘bodies, and devoid of souls’. Once the body becomes aware of the soul, and ultimately of it elevated intellect which is the spirit. Once the soul is silenced, the spirit is heightened, and the more it is inclined towards the spiritual temple, the deeper it becomes likened to Angels as Picco Della Mirandella once stated On the Oration of the Dignity Of Man.

HELA TEKALI: Hela Jenayah Tekali is an outstanding mystical poet from Tunisia. An English teacher at the Faculty of Science, Tunisia. She has authored 6 books on Sufism and Spirituality, and Mystic poetry. Halos of Light ( poetry 2015) , the Quest of Love ( poetry 2017) , the Soaring of my Soul ( poetry 2018) , Mystical Eye ( 2018) and The Song Of The Thirsty Bird ( 2019) ; “Metaphysics : A Mirror to Mysticism” ( literary criticism 2019).She has co-authored a book on Indo – North African Poetry entitled ‘Eternal Showers’. She has also figured on several international anthologies such as Rain Drops of Love, Birds of Peace, Ambrosia, and Our Poetry Archive. Hela Jenayah Tekali is a thorough – bred mystical poet who was honoured as Most Outstanding Mystical Poet by Philosphique Poetica, an international forum dedicated to Poetry, Art, and Philosophy. She was also conferred the Award of Ambassador of Literature by Motivational Strips, another international portal dedicated to poetry.

Dr. APRILIA ZANK is an educationist, freelance lecturer for Creative Writing and Translation Theory, as well as a multilingual poet, translator, editor from Munich, Germany and an Author of the Poetry book BAREFOOT TO ARCADIA. Born in Romania, she studied English and French Literature and Linguistics at the University of Bucharest, and then moved to Munich, Germany where she received her PhD degree in Literature and Psycholinguistics for her thesis, THE WORD IN THE WORD Literary Text Reception and Linguistic Relativity, from the Ludwig Maximilian University, where she started her teaching career. The research for her PhD thesis was done in collaboration with six universities from Europe, and as a visiting lecturer at Alberta University of Edmonton, Canada. Dr Aprilia writes verses in English and German, French and Romanian and was awarded a distinction at the “Vera Piller” Poetry Contest in Zurich. Her poetry collection, TERMINUS ARCADIA, was 2nd Place Winner at the Twowolvz Press Poetry Chapbook Contest 2013. In 2018, she was awarded the title “Dr. Aprilia Zank – Germany Beat Poet Laureate”, by the National Beat Poetry Foundation (USA). She has been an acclaimed guest at cultural events in Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Turkey, Singapore and Romania, where she read her poems, delivered lectures on various topics. Her poems and articles are published in many ezines and Anthologies of different countries.


  1. wonderful questions, and wonderful answers. loved this. wish you more success, Hela Tekali.