Friday, 30 March 2012

Afzal Moolla


in the debris of the past,
scraps of casually discarded emotion.

in hastily trashed yesterdays,
an inkling of moments flung away.

in heaps of rubbished words,
that tiresome sigh of defeated thought.

in the layers of moulted skin
the wilting self that once was true.

in the reflections between the ripples,
for the whispered pangs of roaring desire.

in the blank eyes streaming endlessly,
an echo of the faintest sigh of new life.



TSTmpj:  Your poem documents a multi-faceted quest.  What are you personally searching to achieve as a poet, both in this poem, and more generally in your poetry writing?

Afzal Moolla:  My poem "Searching" is an attempt to convey the desolation that one feels at times, and to reflect on the different paths one has taken in life and the people and places that often get left behind.

The desire to find a measure of equilibrium in these different aspects of one's life is something I have tried to express in "Searching".

"Searching" and many of my other poems are an attempt at achieving a 'catharsis by verse', primarily for myself but also in the hope that the reader may relate to some of the emotions expressed.

TSTmpj:  How has your background and upbringing informed your poetics?

Afzal Moolla:  My childhood was spent in exile in different countries, where my parents were political activists working for the South African liberation movement, the African National Congress.

Those formative experiences of being constantly on the move and of not having a permanent home or a country to call one's own have had a profound impact on me.

The injustice of the Apartheid regime in South Africa prior to 1994, as well as the fact that our family was split with my two elder siblings living in South Africa and my being born in exile has left a lasting imprint on me. I try to give expression to many of these feelings when I write.

I also hope to give a voice to the feeling of emotional and physical dislocation, and how they affect the idea of home, of belonging, and the search for one's identity.

The thought of being a 'perennial immigrant' is one that I try to convey in my writing.

TSTmpj:  I know that sometimes you write more political poetry.  What do you see as the relationship between poetry -- your poetry and also poetry in general -- and politics?  Can it play a role in political change?

Afzal Moolla:  The idea of words being a powerful political tool is something I find fascinating. I try to convey issues of a social and political nature, more as commentary on what I observe, as well as writing topical poems about specific events.

The relationship between poetry and politics in my writing is at its core, the poetry of protest.

It is a point that can be argued, but I believe that poetry can and does affect politics. There is a long history of protest in verse and in song, as well as in prose.

Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason comes to mind as an example of protest-writing.

The poetry of Pablo Neruda in Chile, Primo Levi in Italy, Dennis Brutus in South Africa, Agostinho Neto in Angola and Amilcar Cabral in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde among others inspire me to write and to understand poetry as more than just verse.

The use of poetry as a medium by which the many conversations on social and political change are made more accessible to the world at large is of immense interest to me.

I do believe that poetry can be a catalyst for change, be it personal, social, political or economic change.

Finally, I live with the hope that as long as there is something interesting, painful, joyous or sad to write about, there will always be someone who will write a poem about it.

Bio Note

Afzal Moolla lives in Johannesburg, South Africa. He writes for pleasure and enjoys reading non-fiction and the occasional novel.

No comments:

Post a Comment