The Kent poetry scene is awash with brilliant writers and performers – and Setareh Ebrahimi. She is the author of two books – In My Arms published by Bad Betty Press, and Galloping Horses which is published this year by Medway based press Wordsmithery.
Tell us about yourself – how did you start and how did you get here.
I’m a poet that’s recently moved to Ramsgate. Previously I lived in Faversham for close to ten years. I loved living and writing there, and got to know a lot of wonderful writers local to that area. I’m a staunch feminist and I write about feminine issues, identity, race, mental health and the physical processes of the body. I always like to push myself that little bit further in my work. I always tried to submit to zines and anthologies, slowly I got better and I was published more. Bad Betty look a chance on me by putting out my first pamphlet and now Wordsmithery have accepted my latest book, Galloping Horses, which is available for pre-order now.
What do you write about?
I draw on memory a lot for inspiration and often a poem’s subject matter will be a single memory. I’ll explore the memory’s significance, implications and wider societal context. Throughout the poem I’ll try and look at the memory in every way I can think of, turn it on its side and upside down. I write about childhood trauma and more recently, abuse.
You write for the page and for performance – what’s the difference?
Sometimes I know that a piece will work better on the page and sometimes a piece will work better performed. Generally, I write for the page, as a good friend likes to say, if you write a good page poem it can’t help but be a good performance piece. Performance can often be about delivery, confidence, reading speed, breathing, pace. When you read a poem with the voice in your own head you have a lot more freedom in terms of interpretation.
You’re heavily involved in the Kent scene – why is a community important?
Like most poets I feel an inexplainable and slightly embarrassing, but relentless, desire to share my work. As a single person I was able to gig to my heart’s content. As someone with a family, that is no longer possible. I think community is hugely fundamental for people, whether you’re part of a sports team or in my case a writing community. Its more important to people than we would care to admit. We need to share our work, we need to hear the work of others to learn from and enjoy and we need to stimulate conversation, thought and new ideas.
You have a new book! What’s going on there?
My latest book ended up being more about motherhood than I realised. A lot of the poems aren’t about me as a mother but about my relationship with my own mother and other adults in my life when I was a child – relationships and situations that I have been trying to unpack my whole life. These were always a preoccupation of my writing and they complimented what I was writing about pregnancy and becoming a mother. If you had told my younger self that I would be writing a poetry collection about motherhood I would be extremely surprised, but in truth I write about anything and everything. I never know what I’m going to write about until I do so.