Monday, November 1, 2021







NILAVRONILL: Why do literature and poetry in particular interest you so much? Please give us some idea about your own perception of literature or poetry in general.

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: Literature is a travel through time and space, we learn about places we have never heard of before and live a full life within our own lives. Nothing can be more magical than this. Poetry is the poet attempt to understand himself in the first place and then to understand the world around him. Poetry is another thing to me, it is my bed, my only true friend, between its arms I can be me without frills, I dive into my inner self, scream or may be just let him talk on my behalf. Poetry for all poets not just for me is something can't be explained, believe me. All the answers to what poetry means to a poet are deficient.


NILAVRONILL: How do you relate your own self existence with your literary life in one hand, and the time around you, in the other.

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: I think this all connected with each other. The poet became a poet because of the totality of circumstances, people, a specific time and a specific place in which he lived for a certain period. I believe that time and technological development in which we live now is a helping us to live a more extensive and intense literary life. The poet’s sense of his self-existence as a poet, and here I am talking in general not just about me, is deeply related to his literary life. We do not write for ourselves, perhaps in the beginning, but the poet is like a river that needs to flow, to move, and his literary life is its course and the land he crosses, if that is not the case, this river will turn into a swamp at worst or dried up at best.


NILAVRONILL: Do you believe creative souls flourish more in turmoil than in peace?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: Yes, I do believe that. The creative soul is by nature a restless soul.  Just this anxiety and ferment that create a poet. Whoever lives in a state of peace and reconciliation with the world does not even need to write, for peace and tranquillity are within his reach, and they are by nature states of stillness, and this contradicts the true nature of poetry.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature have been largely extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: Yes, amazingly, it seems that the train of creativity is accelerating remarkably, and the desire to transcend geographical spaces has become the obsession of all writers. Moreover, I think we succeeded in this, for example, here I am simply answering Your interview questions without being together in the same place and time. Even during the time of Corona that we are living in now, festivals have found that they can invite writers and hold a virtual literary festival for writers who never thought before that such thing could happen. As for reading, I think that reading a paper book has a special and an incomparable pleasure that we miss today, but looking at the bright side of the subject, I think that the availability of electronic books saved a lot of effort and money for lovers of reading everywhere and at the same time provided the opportunity for books to spread faster because it became easy to purchase without moving anywhere.


NILAVRONILL: Now, in this changing scenario we would like to know from your own life experiences as a poet, writer and a creative soul: How do you respond to this present time?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: What we are experiencing in light of the Corona pandemic and other economic crises is exceptional and difficult, of course. this applies to the world as a whole, but the poet is by nature a friend of solitude as the appropriate atmosphere for contemplation and creativity, so I think that the time we live in has given me more time to dive into myself more and therefore to see the world with a different eye and this is something I am glad about in spite of all.


NILAVRONILL: Do you believe that all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? And is this an incentive for or an obstacle against becoming a truly international writer?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: I think that we are all influenced by what is going on around us, not only by our nationality, but by what is happening in the whole world. I do not believe in conspiracy theory, but unfortunately, sometimes there is some exclusion for the participation of writers of certain nationalities in some literary festivals and even in participating in some international competitions for certain considerations. This is unfortunate, but personally, I do not lose hope that those literary institutions will someday separate literature from political considerations.


NILAVRONILL: 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 to the tradition and to modernism?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: I think that modernism in writing has nothing to do with the form of the poem or the novel. Modernism is related to the ideas that are presented through the text. I think that the writer is free to choose what suits him/her by expressing what he/she wants to say freely, whether what he chose is traditional or within the framework of modernity in writing. What matters, in my opinion, is to be able to inspire, entertain the mind and to deliver the message he/she wants to deliver.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think literary criticism has much to do with the development of a poet and the true understanding of his or her poetry?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: Yes, it can play a role in the development of poets if it comes from the critic who deeply understands that poetry. However, poetry itself can't be explained, it is like to explain a cloud.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think society as a whole is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet, or your poetry altogether?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: Society plays a role in shaping the personality of people, whether they are writers or not, and this is normal because we are all sons of our environment, but society is not the only factor that shapes a poet. Since poets are people who dive deep inside themselves, poets have this unique sense of seeing what others do not see, or let us say to see what they see, but in another way. Therefore, the answer is yes and no at the same time.


NILAVRONILL: Do you think people in general actually bother about literature?  Do you think this consumerist world is turning the average man away from serious literature?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: Absolutely, people are busy working to provide for their families but I do believe that people, who really like to read, will find a way to do it. The problem is the number of people who read is not so big and there is a black cloud called insignificance that hangs over the topics that are presented in literary books these days.. In short, writing has turned from promoting noble ideas to a way to earn money fast regardless of the content.

NILAVRONILL: We would like to know the factors and the peoples who have influenced you immensely in the growing phase of your literary life.

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: Everything I have been through in my life has made me the person I am now. I lived in a place full of contradictions and turmoil, and two years after I started writing poetry, the war began in Syria. My writing style changed and I tended to direct from it to the figurative expression of ideas. In short, the metaphor became too narrow to bear all this anger. As for the people who influenced me in my growing phase as a poet, the list is long, but I can mention that the writings of the French poet Louis Aragon and the American poet Walt Whitman have inspired me a lot and still do.


NILAVRONILL: How would you evaluate your contemporaries and what are your aspirations for or expectation from the younger generation?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: There is an amazing literary and poetic movement around the world and this is honourable thing. I am not in a place that allows me to evaluate the rest of the contemporary poets, but I can say that I feel happy when I read what those poets write. Their poems move freely between personal and public concerns, and the smell of revolutions is wafting from their words. And I mean here a revolution against everything, starting with the ideas that the poets who preceded them used to write about and not ending with the revolution against the traditional form of the poem and destroying the taboos that, not long ago, had surrounded the spirit of poetry and prevented it from flying. As for my aspirations from the younger generation of poets: I dream of nothing more than they keep on believing in poetry, simply the same that I wish for myself too.


NILAVRONILL: Humanity has suffered immensely in the past, and is still suffering around the world. We all know it well. But are you hopeful about our future?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: I feel sometimes that we were born from the womb of waiting, waiting for freedom, waiting for justice or may be waiting for life. Hope is a chronic disease from which we do not want to be cured, and we can only hope for a better future, if not for us, then at least for our children. We are poets and you know how good we are at dreaming.


NILAVRONILL: What role can literature in general play to bring a better day for every human being?

SHUROUK HAMMOUD: It depends all on what the reader wants to capture. Literature entertains, educates and helps human beings to understand all sides of life. It lets people get into different and magical worlds and this can be enough to make their days better.


SHUROUK HAMMOUD "born in 1982 ", a Syrian poetess, literary translator, BA of arts graduate and a master degree graduate of text translation, Damascus. She has four published poetry collections in Arabic language and two published poetry collection in English titled:(the night papers), (Blind time), and one bilingual book in Serbian and Macedonian and a poetry book in mandarin language titled:(the world is burning), in addition; excerpts of her poetry that have been published in many poetry anthologies in France, Serbia, Mexico, Italy, Taiwan, Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Macedonia, China, and India. A member of Palestinian writers and journalists’ union. Award winner of many local and international poetry awards. Her poetry was translated into 16 languages. She has translated also poetry of more than 50 poets from around the world.



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