Bahareh Amidi, Iranian-American poet, talks about her poems and books during an interview with Gulf News at her residence in Abu Dhabi. The mother of two writes poetry on themes ranging from personal reflections to current affairs. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The world, to her, is filled with many moments and connections of light, which serve to not only inspire but also motivate us to find our true purpose in life.

"I've always been inspired [to write poetry] on and off throughout my life but I never thought about pursuing it as my life until I arrived here three years ago," said Bahareh Amidi, an Iranian American expatriate and full-time poetess.

She credits attending a traditional Iranian music performance in the Abu Dhabi Theatre soon after her arrival in the capital, as the spark that helped her find her creative outlet after years of searching for a voice.

"I always keep a small notebook with me wherever I go… that evening, when they began to play, I was so inspired I began to write in time with the musicians… I even stopped when they did, leaving the sentence half finished," she said.

"I was so excited about it that I called my sister in Iran and my mother in California as soon as I got home… they told me they were amazed, not just by the poem itself but also by the fact that I had written it completely in Persian, which I stopped studying after the fourth grade when I emigrated to the US," Amidi added.

Filling up notebooks

Within a year and a half, the mother of two had filled up approximately 20 journals and has filled an additional 20 notebooks since then, writing about everything ranging from personal reflections to humanitarian issues to current news events.

"I never truly know when inspiration will hit me but once it does, I immediately write, sometimes in sittings that take several minutes to several hours but I rarely stop in the middle and I never cross anything out," said Amidi, who holds a PhD in educational psychology.

"Also, all my poems are written diagonally. I have no idea why, but when I try to write in a straight line, it just doesn't work," she added.

While her husband and teenage daughters all enjoy her work and provide a strong support base for her, Amidi noted that each has their own preferred selection of poems.

"My husband enjoys reading my poems that are based on news and current affairs… he always gets very excited when he sees me writing something after being inspired by a story I saw or read.

"My elder daughter reads a wide selection of my poems and my youngest is perhaps my biggest fan," she said.

After the success of her first public recital, Amidi has always been on the lookout for new platforms to raise awareness about not only her work but also issues and causes she feels passionately about.

"My first performance was at Café Arabia about five months ago… at first, I wasn't sure if a lot of people would attend but the numbers kept growing until there were at least 50 people there. I was accompanied by my friend Sonia [Edelman] who plays the flute, and an oud player," she said.

For her next recital, which will take place on November 14 at the OnetoOne Hotel — the Village, Amidi will be performing with Emma Stansfield (violin and viola), a British expatriate, and So-Young Park (soprano), a South Korean expatriate who will perform one of Amidi's poems accompanied by pianist Steven Kim.

‘Something special'

"While planning this recital with Hana [Makki, who is Bahareh's publicist], I wanted to do something special… so we decided to raise money for the labour camps and a women's shelter through a cover charge… of course, if people want to donate more, they are more than welcome to," she said.

"I always felt that I have to give a voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves… one day, I hope to even reach the United Nations and present my views on as many topics as possible… I'm sure I'll get there, I just need to continue focusing on raising awareness about my work until the time is right," Amidi added.

A fusion of poetry and music

  • What: Cell Empty of Light — A live poetry recital and musical performance
  • When: November 14
  • Where OnetoOne Hotel - The Village, Abu Dhabi.
  • Tel: 02 4952000

Tickets Dh50, all proceeds to go to benefit labour camps and women's shelter. For information visit: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=156957911063348