Sunday, March 3, 2013

Poet of the week (POW): Farah Gabdon

Would you please introduce yourself to the readers?

Well, my name is Farah Gabdon. I live in London and I write sometimes. lol I write fiction and poetry. My most popular fiction is 'Diary of a Xalimo' and I also do performance poetry.

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

I don't ever remember a time when I didn't write. I have two certificates at home for poetry competitions I won, to have work published in an anthology when I was maybe 9 years old. One is really cool, it's called 'over the moon' and has a cow jumping over the moon on it lolI write for myself mostly. I write about emotions and experiences. I've never been a very outgoing person. Nor very talkative. I kept to myself and rarely spoke about or expressed any emotion. I've always had confidence problems for as long as I can remember and writing was my outlet. I felt invisible. And by writing and sharing my writing (annonymously to begin with) I learnt that what I was feeling/going through was normal and okay.I am a very emotional person. I think a lot. I feel a lot and I always felt as though I had to hide it. That vulnerability was a weakness.

What does "being creative" mean to you?

It means being honest with yourself. Being free to express who you are in a safe space. It's a kind of catharsis, a release of all the things we hold inside and are too afraid/not ready to/can't share.We create because we need to.

What do you try to communicate with your poetry? 

I try to highlight humanity and that being human first of all is the most important thing. There is so much everywhere, everyday that tries to separate us, by race, class, religion, gender etc I try to show that we are all the same. And we have stories, hearts, emotions. I want to normalize vulnerability so people see even for a moment, that someone who is completely different to them, understands.I try to do that through my experiences, my people's. To take those emotions and try to communicate them through a medium people can understand. I believe that where words are forgotten, feelings last forever.

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 don't try to write. I read novels. Watch movies. I take walks to take my mind of whatever writing I'm working on. Sometimes, I find inspiration somewhere that sparks something. Other times, I switch my focus and write something else entirely.

Do you sit and think through every word of every stanza or do you just write freely and allow the words to flow?

85% of what I write is free written. I have periods of time when all I want to do is write. It usually comes as a feeling and a mental image. I usually let these thoughts flow and form in my mind before writing them down. I free write every day and that is what's posted on my blog. I find my writing is better when I have an emotion or storh I want to tell. 

Who are some of your favorite poets?

Off the top of my head: Warsan Shire is incredible. Khalil Gibran is superb. Suheir Hammad is wonderful.I also admire many spoken word artists.

What advice do you have for aspiring poets?

1) write your truth. Speak with your voice. Art is freedom, don't be afraid to embrace it. 
2) don't compare your work to others. I spent a long time feeling inadequate around other writers. Believe that your voice matters and counts and needs to be hears.
3) Write when it feels right.

Any word of advice for closet poets? 

Well, I wrote secretly for the longest time and that was the best time for me. Writing annonymously is how you receive honest feedback. Create an annonymous blog and post your work for honest critique.Also, write what you are scared or embarassed to. This is the time you can experiment and go wild with your art, make the most of it!


  1. Randomly stumbled upon this through a google search for something unrelated. I know this may be a little late ( a lot actually) but i wanted to say it was wonderful reading through this and was deeply inspiring. I especially liked where you said you reflect your emotions through your poetry and don't as much in real life I can relate to this myself. Mashallah. I am beginning to get into poetry this article/questionnaire was excellent read before I decided to post poems online anonymously. Once again thank you Idil.