The Writing University conducts is a series of interviews with writers while they are in Iowa City participating in the International Writing Program's fall residency. We sit down with authors to ask about their work, their process and their descriptions of home.
Today we are talking with Lava Omer Darwesh, poet and translator from Iraq.
Do you have a plan or project in mind for your time at the residency?
During my residency I plan to write a poetry collection alongside that I plan to go through other poems that I have written a while ago, and figure out where do they belong another collection maybe!
Beside poetry, I plan to write some short stories. Stories that I had in mind for a long time but didn’t find a voice within me to tell the story. I believe being surrounded by short story writers will help.
I also plan to translate prose and poetry from English to Kurdish and vise versa.
What does your daily practice look like for your writing? do you have a certain time when you write? Any specific routine?
Writing for me must come within me meaning that I cannot force myself to write. I write when I know I have a story to share. There will be days when I barely write and there will be days when I write the entire day. I don’t have a certain time to write. I write all the time. All I need is my phone and my voice note or a tissue paper as simple as that. It doesn't matter if it's early in the morning or midday or late at night!
What are you currently reading right now? are you reading for research or pleasure?
I read for pleasure for the time being. I am currently reading the novel Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee and a poetry collection that is called Handful of Salt by a Kurdish poet that is called Kazhal Ahmad, the collection is translated from Kurdish to English.
What is something the readers and writers of iowa city should know about you and your work?
I have been reading and writing since I can remember. I used to sneak out and use my relative small libraries. I remember dragging my dad to libraries every week and choose books that were above my age but always found a way to convince him. Books were and still my mirror to the world and whenever I don’t read, I listen to an audio books.
Regarding my work, I write about stories that were taken for granted and describe it from a different perspective and dealing with cultural and social issues as well. The reader is free to describe my style. I, myself, can not give a solid answer.
Tell us a bit about where you are from -- what are some favorite details you would like to share about your home?
I live in a beautiful city that is called Sulaimania, they call it city of culture and literate people. The city is surrounded by mountains. The streets are named after poets.
Thank you Lava!