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Anna Interviews: Ms Hazine About Poetry
Let thy heart speak of its within, whom has chosen its papers, on which shall be written. By the light of - thy midday: to interview or not to interview?
All are welcome: new and old followers of 7 questions. Let the interviewing begin…
- Good morning, Ms Hazine. I believe that every little thing in our lives can lead up to big, important things. Everyone has different sources of inspiration, whether they are big or small. What inspiration do you get for your poems from everyday things?
‘I think, that like most writers, inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. Some writers tend to be triggered more by their head, while other writers get ideas from the heart. I am definitely a heart person. When I feel something strong, whether it’s happiness, sadness or a sense of nostalgia, I want to try and capture it and normally those feelings are triggered by people.
Most of my poems are about people and relationships, wonderful and negative effects that we can have on each other. That is my general answer, but in particular right now I am writing poems about school and trying to celebrate the fantastic place that schools can be. Definitely, I am very inspired by my students, colleagues and all the different people that I work with.’
- I know you have written a children's poem on dinosaurs that has been chosen out of lots of entries to be placed inside a book on dinosaur poems. You have told me before that you have never been a great fan of dinosaurs but you still decided to take on board this challenge. What made you accept the challenge to write something that is not in your style?
‘I think that the word ‘challenge’ is it. I thought that it would be a really good challenge and it would be good to write in the opposite way from how I normally write. The poems were a request, they were an instruction. It is called a call for submissions: ‘we want poems about dinosaurs and they need to be aimed at children from 8 upwards’. It was not only a challenge that was not necessarily my strongest interest, but it was also the challenge of writing for younger people which I don't tend to do.
For my first few drafts it wasn't working, and I asked myself: why? Only then I realised that most children's poems are actually written from a child's perspective. I accepted the challenge because it forced me to write in a totally different way. At first I tried to just write a poem about dinosaurs: I researched some interesting dinosaurs, I tried to get my brain in gear. Then I had a bright idea; I realised I should sort of twist it so it had an emotional experience in it. I ended up making it quite emotional as it was a story about a child and their mum. I enjoyed the challenge of finding and working out a sneaky way so it could still be about dinosaurs.’
- Very often people choose a particular career path because they are fond of that job. What fascinates you about poetry and what advice would you give for people that don’t like poetry?
‘Well, my classroom is filled with quotes about poetry and lots of the quotes touch on what I think is amazing about poetry. One of my favourites is by Robert Frost ‘writing a poem is discovering.’ I love that about poetry, I love how it is unique as one type of writing. When writers sit down to write a novel, they spend a long time planning out. If someone writes a letter, they think about how they going to argue their point. Though, when poets sit down to write, it’s often because they don't know what they want to say or how they feel.
The other quote I like is ‘We make out of the quarrels with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.’ As for people that don't like poetry, I would say try to be open-minded. I think that saying you don’t like ‘poetry’ is like saying you don't like ‘food’; but it's just that you've only tried a certain type of food. So, I suggest to try different things because there's so many amazing anthologies that collect lots of different types of poems. If anyone reading this needs a recommendation, I'll be happy to give one! So, get a good anthology, dip into it and just see what speaks to you and then kind of go from there.’
- Your poems are so delicate and enthusiastic at the same time. How much of yourself is expressed in your poems?
‘In a way, I think that everything anyone that writes, especially in poetry, is revealing a lot about themselves even if they think they are not. Even when I've gone through phases of maybe feeling like I don't want to reveal too much, the fact that I’m writing in a sort of guarded way I think does show something about how I'm feeling. You can maybe, for example, see that I’m feeling a bit prickly or self-protective as if I’ve curled up like a hedgehog. Whenever I write or whenever anyone writes they are revealing things whether it is deliberate or not. Some of my poems are more autobiographical than others. In terms of how autobiographical my poems are and how emotional they are, varies a lot. One thing I would say that I am deliberately doing is that I feel like there needs to be more happy poems and more celebratory poems. Of course, there are supposed to be political, angry poems, and sad poems. The problem is that usually when people write poems it’s because they’re sad or questioning or feeling reflective, and often when people are happy, they are just living their lives and going to parties and not writing! Something I am actively trying to do is write celebratory poems, for example something about all the wonderful people who come together every day in the same place.’
- Poems can often express something quite personal for example love, fear and loneliness. Poets often keep these poems to themselves as they are too revealing. Do you have any poems that you prefer to keep to yourself and if yes what are they about?
‘Growing up is hard, and like many writers, when I was a teenager I wrote lots of poems to explore how I felt about things. Lots of my poems at that time were sad, angry or questioning things. I kept my poems in a box under my bed and when the lid came off the box, I realised that because I liked writing so much, maybe I should explore further. But in that box, there are many poems that are probably too personal for me to share and probably very personal for me to talk about as well! Sorry - it's a fantastic question… I think it's interesting how I don't want to talk about those poems, as well as not wanting to show anyone. So, anything I’m happy to talk about I'd be happy to write about and share that, and anything that I wasn't, I wouldn't. They match. You see what I mean?’
- When did you first feel the need to express your feelings through a poem? Do you still have your first ever poem?
‘As a child at primary school I loved reading poems and I loved writing them but it was more in a sort of experimental way. Like most children like playing with LEGO I liked to play around with poems, words and rhyme as a sort of hobby. But it was only when I was a teenager that I started to build that emotional push to write and from then on, I decided to write more independently. Technically I wrote poems at primary school but I think the first poem that I would classify as a proper poem (in that I wrote it because I wanted to and spent ages trying to improve it) was a very long, philosophical, rhyming poem that I wrote when I was maybe about 13. It was about the meaning of life and I was trying to think things through. I can't remember what it was called but something quite ‘grandiose’ I’m sure!’
- Everyone has a dream and a goal in life. Everybody starts off as a small dot in the universe and grows, and grows until they are satisfied of their achievement. As one of your goals have you ever thought about writing a poetry book of your own?
‘Yeah, yes that's a lovely question and it's something like a long-term goal. Some of the poems I’m writing at the moment about school and young people are a mish mash of different places where I’ve worked and visited and the different people I’ve met. I’ve even written some poems about experiences I’ve shared with different classes, and I’ve read those poems to those classes, which my students seemed to enjoy! What I would like to do in the future is to publish a collection of poems about a London school (inspired by ours!) and about all the wonderful, interesting and sometimes difficult things that happen. It will take a lot of work but that's what I'm working towards. Fingers crossed, if I keep working hard hopefully, I will achieve this goal!’
I switched off the recorder and was pleased for thy day. A lunch-time worth waiting for , interviewing Ms Hazine, that has been extremely kind, available to meet me and answer my 7 questions.
A special thank you to:
Mr Hughes, my executive producer
And Ms Beagley for letting all this happen.