Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Poet of the week (POW): Sindiya Darman

Would you please introduce yourself to the readers?

My name is Sindiya Darman. I am Somali, but was born in America. My mom was a single mother that worked hard to take care of me and my sister. We struggled in America while my Dad left to help Somalia. Life was hard, but we made it through, since my mother is very strong and determined. She went to good schools in Somalia, so she wanted the best education for even if we were in America. She took us to the best public schools in America twenty minutes from the President. But we were poor and Somali and the kids were privileged and white. They were spoiled kids that never understood how great their lives were and always complained and tried to commit suicide to get attention from busy parents while I counseled them about how hard their soft lonely lives were. I fit in with a smile that hid all my problems and got the best grades, awards, and made lots of friends. I was as strong as my mother after all, and I was never alone like them, never sitting in a empty rich house, I was lucky if I got my own room. I would invite them to come to our small house that was full of refugee relatives learning English and they would come over and play at our house. Then at 14, my mom was worried that I didn't know my people my own age, then she took me to schools with Somali kids in Toronto. The coolest Somali people live in Toronto. They are the families of the old pre-war city of Mogadishu. Politicians, business people, educated elite, artists, and singers. They all came with lots of money and threw parties every single weekend. They were sure that the whole Toronto thing was just a freezing cold vacation till they got to go back home to beach front Mogadishu. They are like Californians for Americans. Everyone was very multilingual, tall, cool, loyal, beautiful, and fashionable.They were amazing people who lost everything and still were smiling as long as we had each other, I learned that is what binds us together as Somali, what gives us the inner strength to get through so much tragedies that would break anyone else, as long as we had each other, we would be okay.

When did you first start writing poetry and was there any particular incidents in your life that inspired you to write?

I wrote my first poem at 9th grade about a boy called "Silent Secrets.". I let my teacher read it and she totally misunderstood what the poem was about. She wrote pages about her opinion on the poem. She even gave me extra points on my grade. I was so surprised that my teacher misunderstood my poem. I learned that when you write poetry it is like writing in code.  I started writing my diary entries in poetry form after that, so that my little sister would not understood what I wrote. She loved to read my diary. I understood why in war a soldier can pass a message in poetry form to his other soldiers, so the enemy doesn't understand. 

What does "being creative" mean to you?.......

Looking at something old in a new way. Like looking at wood and thinking that it would make a beautiful chair.

What do you try to communicate with your poetry?

Poetry can be about anything. It can express feelings, ideas, or tell a story. I like writing poems to recite in front of an audience. It is fun.

What do you do when you go into a dry spell of some sort or how do you write another piece when you have been away from it for some time?......

I listen to music. Then re-read the last chapter I wrote. Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allow the words to flow?...... I think about the idea first then I let the words flow.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Sofia Omar, Halima Ahmed, Ismail Ahmed, Mo, etc, actually there are a lot of Somali poets that I like.

What advice do you have for aspiring poets? Any word of advice for closet poets?

Poetry doesn't have to be romantic like a Hallmark card. 

Anything else you would like to share?

Don't forget to write poetry to record important events. Poetry is the best when people can read it one hundred years from now and understand what happened today, one day our great-grandchildren will read our Somali poetic diaries about how we were at war, hated each other, ran away, became refugees, got lost in the world, found each other again, threw a party, fell in love, had children, had another war, lost even more when we thought we had nothing, made peace, went back home, and threw another party. I'm sure they will think we were crazy people.

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