Writer Of The Week: nayyirah waheed
Start writing a post
Entertainment

Writer Of The Week: nayyirah waheed

This week I discuss one of my favorite poets, the enigmatic nayyirah waheed.

3438
Writer Of The Week: nayyirah waheed
Instagram

Every fifth week I talk about my favorite writers. These are the wordsmiths that have instilled the love of literature in me, nurtured my intellect, kept me sane and whole, and the entire spectrum of feels in between.

nayyirah waheed is a bit of an enigma. When I first discovered her poetry (stumbled upon on Instagram, yay stalking), I spent a solid hour scouring the Internet for anything else I could find. And while her poetry abounds in the Tumblr streets and can be found in other strategic places if you know what to search for, I couldn’t find a single picture of her, nor any particularly personal interviews. That was in 2014. To this day, still, I’ve never, ever seen a picture of her. This is part of her allure. Where most artists rely heavily on their social media accounts to market themselves and promote their brand, waheed very literally lets the work speak for itself. Her Instagram and Tumblr pages are mostly full of pictures of her poetry, as well as pictures of other people who have used her poetry in their captions, or odes to her own favourite artists and inspirations.



The veil of secrecy is fitting given her sparse, minimalist approach to literature. waheed fans know her and love her for her deliciously frugal use of words and unusual employment of punctuation. She somewhat pioneered and popularized this style of writing, and other writers since have either drawn inspiration from it or just jocked her swag completely. Using only full stops (or periods as ye Americans call them) and non-capitalized letters, she creates entire universes in very small spaces and leaves you breathless while doing it.

if
the ocean
can calm itself
so can you.
we
are both
salt water
mixed
with
air.

- meditation

She has previously expressed that she writes in this way - choppy, sharp, unforgiving - because the English language cannot accurately convey all the emotions she is trying to have the poem hold. The language, she says, was not created for us - us being black people. In an https://ezibota.com/nayyirah-waheed/ interview with Ezibota, responding to critics who say her work is not poetry because it doesn’t align with the standards of Shakespeare and Robert Frost and the like, she says: “What is their sound… their mouths to our words, our emotions, expressions, or experiences? We don’t need validation. I actually want their hands off our work. Our work is a different universe, a requiring of a different set of senses. That which they do not fully understand, is meant for them not to understand, as it is not theirs.” What she does with the English language, therefore, is manipulate it. She breaks it down to its smallest pieces, and tries to let individual letters and words tell their own stories.

waheed currently has two bodies of work out: salt. and nejma, which can both be purchased on Amazon. Very different, but sharing the ability to stir up emotions in very few words, they are both worthy pieces of literature to explore. I would definitely recommend them both to anyone who loves the way literature can make you feel nameless feels.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

83141
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

50256
loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets
StableDiffusion

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less
Adulting

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

983762
Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments