Q: When did you start writing?
A: First of all, thank you so much Adam for inviting and having me in this interview with the great Madness Muse Press. I’ve been writing poetry in Farsi since I was a happy 12-year old girl. Perhaps poetry runs in my family as my father is a poet and my uncle was. The education, research and teaching in Pharmaceutical Sciences made me learn scientific writing in English during the time I studied and worked at schools. Then a turning point happened in my life, IMMIGRATION, and suddenly I found my poetry nonsense for the people who didn’t know my language and culture. I had no choice but writing my poems in English. So If your question is when I started writing English poems, the accurate answer is 40!
Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favorite writers?
A: They were different depends on the age I was. In childhood, I was affected by Parvin Etesami’s simple, rhyming, morals, storytelling but multi-layer poems. She is a famous Iranian poetess in early 20 century. Then, the well-known Sohrab Sepehri’s and Mehdi Akhavan Sales’ books located on my shelf. I reckon my inspiration of middle age has been Geysar Aminpoor’s smart, concise, and confessional poetry which is so similar to the Sylvia Plath’s and Anne Sexton’s pens at least for me. In English, I fell in love with the short poems from Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman but now I read from so many other poets who currently live between us.
Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?
A: It’s timeless! Anytime a poem wants to happen, I let it be live on my notebook, cell phone or computer.
Q: Why do you write?
A: I don’t know just like I don’t know why I live or breathe but out of why questions, there is beauty in writing and expressing the human’s feeling and thought. For me, writing has always been easier than talking, since I would rather people read my heart and mind whenever they really want to than they listen to and forget about it. When I ask myself why I am obsessed with reading and writing, I tell myself it’s better not to pick an answer because there are unknown and deep layers of being yet to be defined by scientists.
Q: Do you have any favorite quotes from writers?
A: Yes, though hard to choose one. It would be “A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, because everything she does is golden. In my view a writer is a writer because even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway.”
[Becoming a Writer/ The List, O Magazine, November 2009]”
― Junot Díaz
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?
A: I would say to them, “Don’t even step in writing, if you don’t have the brave heart of a lion, the complex eyes of a fly, the complicated mind of a dolphin and the warrior attitude of a wolf because once you come in, the whole world’s editors may reject your writing, the whole universe’s critics may criticize your way and the sky may fall all over your decision. But if you be patient and strong enough, you’ll grow slowly but toughly, the way a slim stem sprouts from behind a rocky ground and stretches to become a tall tree.”
Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?
A: Yes I do, and appreciate for asking me. For poets and readers who like to read bilingual anthologies, the recently published volumes I and II of “Persian Sugar in English Tea” are now available on Amazon. They both together include the English poems by 54 American, Canadian, Australian, … living poets together with the Farsi translations. I kindly benefited from Aimal Zaman’s co-translation in there. If they are interested in visiting my own books of poetry like “Nobody in The Box”, “Street of the Ginkgo Trees”, and “A Poem And Three Generations” published on amazon, the link to all is here:
At the end, thank you again Adam for this opportunity to talk with your wonderful readers.
Biography: Soodabeh lives in Queens, NYC. She got her Pharm D and PhD of Pharmacognosy and has worked as a researcher, assistant and associate professor in the Kyoto University (Japan), TUMS (Iran) and University of Saskatchewan (Canada). She writes in English and Farsi. Her English poems have been published in different anthologies and literary magazines including Careless Embrace of the Boneshaker (GWFM), Squawk Back, Indiana Voice Journal, Sick Lit Magazine, Dying Dahlia Review, etc. She has authored, translated and edited both scientific and poetry collections and anthologies (https://www.amazon.com/s?field-keywords=soodabeh+saeidnia).