And check out the author’s reading!
Interview with the writer:
Q: What was your thought process for coming up with this poem?
A: The assignment to write a ‘question poem’ made me think of people who I had unanswered questions for. I quickly realized that I had the most questions for my mom’s father, Siri. My mom’s parents died together in a car accident while my mom and her sisters were in college. I have heard many stories of my grandfather, or ‘sīyā’, from my mom. From those stories I could tell that he was a very hardworking, loving, yet troubled and temperamental man. Even when he died, he was in one of many disagreements with my mom and hadn’t spoken to her in weeks. It was this contradictory nature of my sīyā that got me intrigued and asking questions.
Q: When did you begin to be interested in writing?
A: As a kid living with undiagnosed ADHD, I would often feel frustrated by reading and writing in school because I believed I was simply bad at such subjects. However, I really enjoyed being read to and thinking of my own stories in my head. So, I secretly loved my English classes and the poetry nights at school. Eventually, in my later years of elementary school, I grew more confident in my academic capabilities and I allowed myself to write and explore my interest in writing.
Q: Who is your favorite poet/author right now?
A: Mary Oliver is currently my favorite poet.
Q: How does your family’s immigrant experience inform your life as a student?
A: My mom’s family came to America from Sri Lanka when she was 4 years old. She was raised to value education as the most important tool in life necessary for survival and success. When raising my sister and I, my mom avoided many aspects of the parenting she received from her parents. However, she maintained the main teaching that ‘education is key’. In many ways, I carry some of the survival mentality passed down through my immigrant family. The importance of school is ingrained in me which gives me more happiness in my success but also more devastation in my failure. As a kid, I particularly struggled with this because I found school to be very difficult, probably due to my ADHD, which was undiagnosed at the time. At that point in my life, I felt afraid that my performance in school determined my self-worth. Frustrated, I sometimes acted like I didn’t care at all and gave up. Luckily, I have grown from then and changed into a more confident and comfortable student.
Q: What are the top three things you miss about being in-school?
A: I miss taking the bus to school, something I actually hated until remote learning took it away from me. Secondly, I miss the Murrow building, from traveling class to class and spending my optas in my favorite places. Lastly, I miss seeing people in person, meeting my classmates and teachers each day.