EV•O•LU•TION PRESENTS: DOYALI ISLAM

Doyali Islam is a self-proclaimed cat lover and a participating poet in our upcoming ev•o•lu•tion event. Her poem "cat and door" was recently announced as the winner of League of Canadian Poets' inaugural National Broadsheet Contest, and will be included in the 2017 Poem in Your Pocket booklet, which is a joint publication by Academy of American Poets and League of Canadian Poets. She is also the 2016 winner of Arc Poetry Magazine's Poem of the Year Contest, and the 2015 winner of Contemporary Verse 2's Young Buck Poetry Prize. Other publication credits include Kenyon Review Online and The Fiddlehead.

She shared with us her personal approach to revising her work:

I revise by ear. As far back as I remember, I have always done so. Perhaps this is why public readings are one of my favourite aspects of the work: although I am a page-poet, my poems are meant to be voiced, intoned – almost sung.

I would qualify my process as being half intuition, half rational discernment. For me, a poem requires both internal logic and a certain amount of apparent logic.

Most often, a fragment of verse – rather than an image – will come to mind as if from nowhere, and I will jot it down using whatever holding-surface I have: journal, used envelope, post-it note, cell phone. Sometimes, this fragment survives ‘as is’ in the final poem. Other times, a version of it will remain. In some instances, it dissolves entirely: that’s okay, too. It was the initial impetus required to make me start the work.

More and more, I am convinced that structure is crucial to a poem’s success or failure. By ‘structure’, I mean the general visual form a poem takes, its sonic qualities, and its mode(s) of operation: what holds a poem together, and what propels it to its end? Where are the hinges? I am always looking for tension and paradox, ambiguity and clarity.

Revision is a solitary but not lonely process. With every draft, something is pared down. My language becomes more simple – which does not equal ‘simplistic’. Distilled but also slippery.

My early mentor, poet Sylvia Legris, told me to “be ruthless” in my revisioning. I am.

Doyali Islam and her work can be found through the following:

Twitter: @doyali_is

Facebook Author's Page: Doyali Islam

Website: www.doyalifarahislam.com