Q&A with Alshaad Kara

A square headshot of Alshaad Kara is set against a bubbly background of neon yellow, orange and green. Alshaad is smiling, and the top of his grey jacket collar and white shirt are visible. 'Juice' is written in cursive lettering at the top of the background banner. Below, typed text reads: 'Interview: Alshaad Kara'. in the bottom right corner is 'The Suburban Review' logo.

ALSHAAD KARA is a poet who is inspired by his heart and pours poetic melodies from therein. He has participated in numerous poetry contests, winning and placing. Besides that, he has also been part of an anthology, PS: It’s Still Poetry – An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry from Around the World.

Our Associate Editor L.B Hazelthorn talks to Alshaad Kara about his pair of poems, ‘Drinks’, published in #25: JUICE

Your poetry suite in #25 has a lush sense of joy, which invites the reader to join the mood. It’s such an energising interpretation of the ‘Juice’ theme. Can you tell us about the process of building these works? Do you try to capture a memory, or is your imagination sparked by words themselves?

Thank you. Writing poetry is fun and it’s a journey of self-discovery with each written piece. The building process starts with the theme. I always try to incorporate something new to my poetry skills and capture it to the best of my abilities. They are a mixture of both memory and imagination. I integrate my genuine memory and, whenever I can, it merges with my imagination.

‘New Year’ is my vivid memory, partly narrating about how I saw people celebrating the New Year. It feels like yesterday. ‘Nirvana’ was a challenge for me. Words sparked and I tried to accompany each one beautifully.

Much of your poetry explores wordplay and sly rhyming, a real delight in language. Which poets and writers inspire you?

Words are the little blocks that create the whole dynamic. Without any doubt, Rumi and William Wordsworth are the reasons why I love poetry. If they could impact the world by their essence and through time, I also want to leave a piece of my talent as well for the world to dream. It is really true that I love books and I read a lot! Since my love for literature started with Shakespeare, I am starting with him regarding writers that inspire me. He has always intrigued me with how he could create different storylines and still make you surprised in the end.

Yet if there is another writer who inspires me a lot it is Charles Dickens with his novel, ‘Great Expectations’. The reason this influences me to write poetry is because I was left heartbroken similarly to Miss Havisham. What’s in the heart is a deep mess of words that constantly inspires and conspires you to try to spell out every magic through poetry. Other writers whose books inspire me a lot are J. B. Priestley—An Inspector Calls, André Aciman—Call me by your Name, James Baldwin—Giovanni’s Room, and Paulo Coelho—The Alchemist.

What are your favourite ways to recharge your creativity?

Since I write from my heart, it gets very taxing to write poetry sometimes. One favourite way to recharge my creativity is by listening to Bollywood romantic songs. These are what I love and just to hear them transports me to another world. Although I do not understand that much of the language, they become attached to my heart and the creativity flows. The other favourite aspect to keep and recharge my creativity alive is to experience life, we keep learning, good or bad, happy or sad, all these are the powers of creativity. Nevertheless, I cannot stay away from poetry for so long, I need to express and pour my feelings on paper.