Nigina Rakhmatullaeva

  • Nigina Rakhmatullaeva, Academic TransferNigina_web

    Nigina is a delightful poet with a strong sense of detail. Her poem, "Promenade," appeared in Illuminations Vol. 14. We caught up with Nigina and asked her about her writing and her poetic self.

    Illuminations:  You are an international student from Uzbekistan. Can you tell us a little about your country and which writers and poets are popular there?

    Nigina:  Uzbekistan is located in Central Asia, but it is commonly mistaken for Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Russia because people in Uzbekistan speak both Russian and Uzbek. My country is abundant with natural resources such as gold, cotton, and also with its distinguished architecture. The former capital of Uzbekistan, Samarkand, was the center of the prominent silk road and linked China with the Mediterranean. Samarkand, Bukhara, Khiva, Urgench and Ferghana are the cities with the most exquisite architecture; some of the mosques and madrasahs are dated back to 700 BC. The UNESCO proclaimed Samarkand as the World Heritage Site in 2001.

    One of the most outstanding and brilliant Uzbek poets of all time was Alisher Navoi. He was basically the founder of Uzbek language. I've read his poems in translation (due to my poor knowledge of old Uzbek), and they are very inspiring and moving. Another phenomenal poet from the 18-19 centuries was Mohlaroyim (known better for her penname Nodira). She was one of the first influential female poets of Uzbekistan. She wrote over 10,000 lines of poetry both in Uzbek and Persian. The modern poets such as Xamid Alimjan, G'afur G'ulom, and Adil Yakubov are famous with their contemporary and revolutionary poetry that has shed light on to the political world of the former USSR.  

    I:  You speak Spanish, French, Russian, Uzbek, and English. Has learning and practicing different languages helped you grow as a writer? How so?

    N:  Immensely. I strongly believe that learning foreign languages develops both critical thinking skills and intelligence overall. Often times I use at least two languages in my poems, which in my opinion makes them more exotic. Apart from the aesthetics of my poetry, knowing a few languages makes writing poetry easier because when I can't remember a word in one language, I can surely think of it in another. 

    I:  Which writers and poets do you admire most and why?

    N:  I admire all poets, regardless of the style and genre they write in, by the reason that poetry is a shout out from deep inside a person's heart, which I take very intimately. For me, at least, as much as most poetry is written for the public, it always has hidden intimate parts that only the author knows about. Nonetheless, some of my favorite writers and poets are Omar Khayyam, Paulo Coelho, Billy Collins, Ted Kooser, Anna Akhmatova, and Emily Dickinson.

    I:  You took a poetry class at SCC with Neal Kirchner. Why did you choose to take the class, and how did it help you grow as a poet?

    N:  I started to write my first poems around the time when I was about 12 years old, and certainly, they were no good. After I discovered a few years later that SCC offered a poetry class, I decided to try it out because I needed a couple of free elective classes, and this class sounded like a good idea, as I was always interested in poetry. Without a doubt, this class turned out to be a very pleasant experience, especially with the people that took this class seriously. I learned a lot and grew immensely as a poet thanks to the strictness and professionalism of Neal Kirchner.  

    I:  What was the inspiration behind your moving poem, "Promenade," published in Volume 14?

    R:  "Promenade" was actually one of the assignments in Neal Kirchner's class. I love to make up scenarios in my head, and as can be seen in this poem, I, myself, like to dream about visiting Paris. I decided to take a perspective of an older gentleman that worked in my favorite local grocery store, Ideal. The reason why I chose him is because shortly before I wrote this poem, I discovered that the cashier who worked at Ideal spoke French. We had a little chat a time or two, and that's how I came up with this poem. Honestly, the most bizarre and surprising things can inspire a person to write poetry. 

    I:  How do you see yourself as a poet in ten years?

    N:  Well, this is one of the questions that you know you will probably answer unrealistically. One thing that I know for sure is I will always write, regardless of where I stand in my life. For me, poetry is a way of unwinding myself after the stress of daily life struggles. 

    I:  Do you enjoy participating in any other creative activities?

    R: I love to paint-rarely, but I do. However, there aren't any paintings that I would want to share with the public; I wouldn't want to impair their eyesight. Nonetheless, other less artistic and mostly athletic hobbies that I enjoy are ice skating, playing tennis, and riding my bike around Lincoln. 

    I:  What advice would you give to beginning poets?

    R:  One of the most important advices that I've ever been given about poetry is don't ever strive to make your poetry understandable. Don't refrain from writing what you like only to make sure other people get you; they don't have to understand your poetry, so be yourself, and each and every reader will find something for themselves in your poetry. 

    Promenade

    By Nigina Rakhmatullaeva

    Every night when he comes home
    He tunes his old and rusty gramophone
    Uncorks a bottle of Chardonnay
    Sways to the tunes of Chevalier
    Sets his oak table on the porch
    Fixes a portion of Quiche Lorraine
    But there is something he forgets
    That dusty, metal photo frame
    Where his noble son and beauty daughter
    Enjoy the shimmering la tour Eiffel
    Nibbling on crisp chocolate croissants
    On a mid-night stroll by river Seine.