Poetry Muse: Khashayar Mohammadi + Me, You, Then Snow

April 9, 2022

This weekend on Poetry Muse, we are joined by Khashayar Mohammadi, author of Me, You, Then Snow (Gordon Hill Press). Khashayar shares how they love poetry for its urgency, the best advice they received as a poet, and his personal Spotify playlists he made that pairs well with his book. 

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Who is your muse?

Languages. their connections, their intricacies, their capacity for expression. I am endlessly indebted to language for its beauty, it's elasticity and its power. 

 

What inspired you when you started writing your poetry collection? And what is your creative process when you begin writing? 

The city. its lights, its laundromats, dimly bathed in neon post midnight, its strangers screaming and scouting into the night, its back alleys and street corner loot, its bedbug mattresses, its coffee shops. y’know the motto “If you see something, say something”? Well that’s my maxim for poetry. Whenever I witness the city in its beauty, I’d write. My first few years of writing was mostly done while riding the subway, the bus, the streetcars. 

 

When did you start writing poetry and why did you choose to write poetry over other forms of literature?

I was a prose writer exclusively till I was about 20 until I went to an open mic. In poetry I found avenues for performance that prose just wouldn’t allow (at least not the fiction I was writing). I loved poetry for its urgency, for its incredible endorphin rush, for its avenues for performance. I liked to perform, but not to a theatrical degree, and poetry allowed for the perfect mix to my liking.

 

How would you describe your poetry collection? 

I’d describe it as self-discovery. It took me months and months after its publication to realize I was speaking to myself and needed to illuminate certain aspects of my own personality for myself.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring poets? 

I’ll give the best advice I myself received: “NEVER underestimate how little others care about your work”

Think about the above statement: Its only “Harsh” (as I’ve heard said so many times) if you consider the promotion of individuality as the most important goal of poetry. when you think of it from a more collectivist perspective, it freeing. you’re neither the inception, nor the end, neither the centre nor the edge of discourse. you’re a mere spec, and you need to act like it: You are connected to those who came before and there will be many after you so: Write as if you’re a single drop in the stream. Don’t try to be an entire river by yourself

 

Are there any poets or poetry collections that you admire? 

The Poet Klara Du Plessis opened an entire avenue of poetic expression to me with her debut book “Ekke”. we have since become great friends and collaborators. 

Nicole Brossard is the single greatest living Canadian poet and I’ll always admire her work.but those set aside, I have been voraciously reading Adonis and Etel Adnan. They are the very edges of West Asian Poetics and nothing inspires me more than that.

 

Does music inspire you when you start writing poetry? 

Music is absolutely pivotal to my process. Asides from writing, I also love to dig up and pair each book I’m reading with a corresponding album (for example I love listening to Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising while reading Liz Howard’s “Letters in a Bruised Cosmos” and I’ve made Spotify playlists for what I consider pairs well with my book! (See link below)

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37mOpKX82AtCpRmwnfCulR?si=63fbb7bbe3c84dde

 

A poem from  Me, You, Then Snow

 

Nipples Al Dente 

Scars seem to say 

                 “The End’s a dreadful thought” 

 

in the cross-legged hours to come 

be more masculine 

 

bitemarks embolden heavy as lips Crimson

marks of yearning 

 

bus-ride boredom taught us 

how to forget the word “longing” 

how to say “I” and really mean it this

time how to bite 

                  anti-oedipal 

                  complex free 

 

we paved a new path to the mind 

found immaternal love protruding 

 

my skin came alive 

a fingertip could stretch me tender 

                        etch a lover’s mark on hips 

 

chest-risen 

            exorcised 

a warmth permeates  We’re

Longing-Free!

 

 

 

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Khashayar “Kess” Mohammadi (He/They) is a queer, Iranian born, Toronto-based Poet, Writer and Translator. They were shortlisted for the 2021 Austin Clarke poetry prize, they are the winner of the 2021 Vallum Poetry Prize and the author of three poetry chapbooks and two translated poetry chapbooks. Their debut poetry collection "Me, You, Then Snow" is out with Gordon Hill Press. Their second book “WJD” is forthcoming in a double volume with the translation of Saeed Tavanaee’s “The OceanDweller” from Gordon Hill Press fall 2022. Their collaborative poetry manuscript with poet Klara Du Plessis is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press Fall 2023.

 

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During the month of April, you can buy  Me, You, Then Snow and any one of our other featured Poetry Muse books for 15% off + free shipping in Canada with promo code ALUPOETRYMUSE. Or find them at your local independent bookstore! 

Keep up with us all month on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook with the hashtag #ALUPoetryMuse.


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