Konya Shamsrumi: What is the process of writing a poem like for you:? Is it a lot of hard work or easy?
Khadija Isse: To me, it depends on your feeling at the time when you are composing or writing a poem. The process is very easy when you know exactly what you are feeling and you write about those feelings. It has never been a lot of work for me because I just write poems from very strong feelings and emotions.
Konya Shamsrumi: Please describe your sense of identity in this or any possible world in imagery or metaphor?
Khadija Isse: My identity is what makes me who I am. Although, sometimes, people who are very close to me describe me as a person with a very old spirit, I am just trying to find my way and to look within in order to make change where and when needed. I think that in any possible world, I would still try to serve the truth and to spread love and peace.
Konya Shamsrumi: If any of your poems could literarily save a person’s life, which poem would it be and can you describe the person whose life you think it would have saved?
Khadija Isse: It would be my poem ‘Dhagaxlool’ which I wrote in 2017. It would save the life of my Nation. In this poem, I used words that came from the bottom of my heart; enlightening my people in general.
Konya Shamsrumi: What does Africa mean to you, as potential or reality?
Khadija Isse: Africa means a mother to me- the mother of heroes and great leaders. It means to me knowledge and wisdom. And it means green and prosperous.
Konya Shamsrumi: Could you share with us one poem you’ve been most impressed or fascinated by? Tell us why and share favorite lines from it.
Khadija Isse: My favorite poem is ‘Africa, my Africa’ by David Diop. Whenever I read this poem, it reminds me of where this free Africa came from and all the struggles and sufferings that our freedom fighters had to go through in order to make their dream ‘Free Africa’ come true. The following are my favorite lines:
“Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.”
Khadija Isse is a Somali poet based in Mogadishu. A multilingual artist, she works in Peace Building and Social Change in her country through the Mogadishu City Volunteers which seeks to build community resilience and address trauma. She is a Mandela Washington Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace.