Poetry as Hope: Q+A with Shubhi Raghav

Shubhi Raghav's lyrical poetry was showcased in our journal recently, and we're so excited to bring you her more personal thoughts about poetry. 

How did you find out about Passports?

It was through my English teacher that I got to know about Passports.

Why did you begin writing poetry?

At a young age, like any teenager I faced a lot of internal turmoil about my identity. But, I couldn’t allow these negative feelings and experiences to affect my growth and the people around me. It has since evolved and now I have begun to write about the issues that I can see present in our society.

What inspires you to write?

I draw inspiration from people, their stories, my experiences with them, their behaviour, their thoughts and their feelings. My reaction to these things is what is reflected in my poems.

What do you hope to convey with your poetry?

A lot of my initial poetry was dark and focused on the aspect of despair. It was not to create a cruel view of the world but rather to help others understand people who hold this view of the world. It’s an interesting fact that people who feel depressed or despondent, look for people who suffer from the same negative emotions so that they don’t feel lonely. It also gives them hope that such feelings are just a phase and will eventually leave.

What do you enjoy the most about writing?

To me it’s a joy to share my work with someone who enjoys reading poetry. However, what I think makes me the happiest is when my poetry helps someone in any way. Even if there is no one to read it, the fact that now whatever was inside of my head is out on paper in concrete words, provides me great satisfaction.

How would you describe your poetic style?

Most of my poems are written in free-verse, which allow for development of any idea in a liberal manner. My poems tend to have a large amount of metaphors and similes, which help in painting a picture for the reader. All in all, it is a format in which I can comfortably communicate.

Why do you think poetry is so powerful?

I view poetry as an outlet, it is something that enables me. I think it allows many people to have a say in issues which we would never get the opportunity to do in any other format, at least not in such detail. This is its greatest strength, it allows for coherent and concise expression of beliefs, ideas and thoughts and yet manages to convey a deeper meaning.

What is your creative process like?

There are two types of experiences which can sow the seed of a new poem idea in my head.

One takes place in nature, where I draw connections between ourselves and the environment that surrounds us. I focus on what it can mean to us onto a spiritual level and then begin to write out the various things that comes to mind. Once I have my lines, I rearrange them in an order that makes most sense.

The second one, takes place during a time of crises, where I feel the need to let the various emotions I am feeling out. In this case, I first write the main ideas and then begin to construct the poem.

How has poetry impacted your life, and how has your life impacted your poetry?

Poetry has impacted my life in countless ways but the one which is most significant to me is how it has unburdened my mind. To have let out all that I am thinking is a great relief to me, it allows for me to have a clear mind. Not that the problems disappear but they become clearer and easier to tackle or at least make peace with. A lot of my poetry reflects relatively tragic times in my life but also what I have learnt from that, which is the lesson that I take away.

Where do you see your poetry taking you in the future?

While I do not aim to have a career as a writer, I think poetry will allow me to explore different issues, ideologies and experiences. I also think it will be one the strongest ways that I can spread awareness to the masses and connect with them on a deeper level. Looking at how it will affect my personal life, I think it would help me find like-minded people more easily.

What hobbies do you have other than writing?

I enjoy photography as it allows me to capture beautiful moments of nature. I read a lot of books, usually fiction, and enjoy almost all genres, drama and adventure being my favourites. I love listening to music, specially rock, some of the bands I listen to include Queen, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and Black Sabbath.