Well you have to hand it to her, Michaela Ridgway has come up with another winning combination. In addition to the regular monthly Thursday events at the Red Roaster, we have poets interviewing poets and who better to start this new enterprise than Jackie Wills interviewing Mimi Khalvati.
A truly inspirational evening with Jackie getting to the heart of Mimi preoccupations, as well as the processes that make her the unique poet that she obviouly is.
Jackie begins by quoting from several impressive reviews that sing Mimi’s praises which include writing her many sonnets, setsina’s, ghazals as well as free verse. Jackie also celebrates Mimi’s ability in her poetry to focus on little things with childlike wonder particularly in her latest book. ‘The Weather Wheel’
Mimi talks about journey as a poet, her early experience of experimenting with different forms in the early days. A sort of rite of passage for poets. Later Jackie asks Mimi what would be her best piece of advice to new poets, her reply was to get to grips with meter, nothing more nothing less!
Mimi is so open and informative one cannot help but warm to her. “I am the bubble of the present moment”. “All my work is trying to recover something”. “I write about what I love, my family for instance”. “I see myself as a British poet, although I am Iranian”. She left Iran at the age of six and has no memory of the place. “Things have to excite my mind, memories are encoded in language”. She also tells us a poem finds it’s own optimum form, “It’s sculpture, like a block of stone that you chip away, like a detective at work”. She also points out that it is in the process of writing a poem that the right form will emerge.
We get a real understanding of what makes this woman tick. She started off by telling us she is a tidy person, organised and with a colour co-ordinated sock drawer. She ends the session she is telling us she does not hold on to experience, in terms of life “live it, let go, move on”. She sees herself as a blank canvas with a relationship with a void.
We have some lively questions from the floor and a break, before we are treated to Mimi reading some of her poems from her latest collection ‘The Weather Wheel’. These include ‘Angels’, some of her poems written in Marrakech and a wonderful poem about her grandson Kai’s pet rat called Sniff.
Well done Jackie and Mimi. I would not have missed this for the world, a wonderful night out and all for a fiver for goodness sake!. I’ve have been up to the Poetry School lots of times since I started my own poetry journey seven years ago. Tonight I learned from the intro in Mimi’s new book that she was the founder. Somehow, after listening to her tonight that is no surprise so informative as well as warm and wonderful.
Next regular Pighog Night with poets and open mic spots is on 30th April, when there will be Robin Houghton of Telltale press and Andrea Stan. Be early if you want to sign up for Open Mic but, just to remind you, the doors don’t open until 7.45.
Keep an eye on Pighog on facebook for the date of the next interview, when it will be Lee Hardwood interviewed by Professor Robert Sheppard. Would be a pity to miss it!