Tonight we put the spotlight on Rana Shabibi, whose poem ‘Mutability’ is published in issue 8 of Lucent Dreaming.
So, what inspired your piece ‘Mutability’? Can you tell us a little more about what it’s about?
I wrote Mutability during the first UK lockdown in 2020, which was a time of great instability and upheaval. It was my way of processing all the disorientation and confusion around me. It also caused me to question the changeability of life generally and was my way of trying to reassure myself that change is an inherent part of life and nature. I wanted to write in an 18th century style hence the antiquated syntax and word choices. I studied the literature of the Romantic period in detail and my writing is influenced by it in terms of subject matter, form, rhythm and metre. I feel a great sense of nostalgia for this period in literature and my writing is a way of paying homage to it. This type of writing is very preoccupied with transience and I have carried this theme over to this poem as this is something that concerns me, too. I also wanted to produce something that was very visual, hence the detailed imagery about the autumn leaves and the blooms of spring. I love using my poetry to evoke vivid imagery because I am also an artist (I produce colour pencil and pencil drawings of animals and nature).
What are some of your favourite books and art (including shows, videos, music) – of all time or more recently. Why are they favourites?
I developed a love for the poetry of Keats, Shelley, Byron, Blake and Coleridge while studying English Language and Literature at university. I also love to read Shakespearean sonnets and plays. In terms of more modern poetry, I love anything by Sylvia Plath, Wilfred Owen and Carol-Ann Duffy. My favourite novels are L.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. In terms of TV shows, I am a great fan of Breaking Bad and Prison Break, which for me are classics that will never go out of style. Being bilingual, I also watch a lot of Spanish TV programmes and films with The Platform being one of the best films I have seen in a long time. This film is thought-provoking, symbolic and metaphorical and watching it is no different to reading a good novel.
What, if anything, are you looking forward to right now and what writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
I am currently writing some poems with a view to publishing them in a pamphlet. The theme is likely to be animals and nature and our relationship with nature. This is because I live in the Oxfordshire countryside and I am a keen observer of the natural world. It is, therefore, a recurrent theme in my work. The relationship that human beings have with nature is something that I am fascinated by and I feel that this is very topical with everything that is going on in the world right now. I am also experimenting with new forms and styles of poetry and I hope to have these published in online literary journals within the next few months.
Can you tell us about how you got into writing and art? Is there anyone whose support or encouragement really inspired or motivated you?
Despite having an English degree, I got into writing fairly late. I dabbled with poetry writing in my twenties but never took it any further back. This is because I am a perfectionist and if something does not come out right the first time around, I tend to just abandon it. However, I have become more patient and persistent with my writing and have learnt to recognise that a piece of writing usually requires several drafts before it can be seen as being up to scratch. I got into writing seriously when I joined a Zoom writing group during the first lockdown. One of the first poems I wrote was about the pandemic itself and this led me to write Mutability. I have been writing poetry and short stories on and off since then. I have now started to modernise my writing a bit and I am currently dabbling in unrhymed free verse. I am also trying to move away from the more serious poetry of the Romantic era and I am currently experimenting with light verse. In terms of support and encouragement, I would say that my mum has always been there to encourage and support me from start to finish. My close friend and fellow poet, Cordelia Blue, has also been very supportive.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
I am fairly new to the poetry world and have not had a lot published yet. Apart from Lucent Dreaming, I have also had work published in Grand Little Things and Lighten Up Online.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine of surreal writing and art, and publisher of emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.