“Come What May” Restores the Lost Link between Poetry and Medicine
Many wonderful poems have been written by well- known physicians from the ancient times through the early part of the 20th century. There is no denying the fact that many Physicians have contributed to the world of literature. Oliver Goldsmith, John Keats, Oliver Wendell Holmes are a few unforgettable names of well-known physicians whose poetry has left an indelible impact on generations of readers. Hussian Ali Syed is a medical doctor by profession however, his first book on poetry “Come What May” has surely restored the old tradition of poetry and medicine. Keats in his poem Lamia claims that scientific knowledge ruins our sense of beauty however that does not seem true in case of Hussain Ali Syed. Recently team Yolo comprising Ms. Irum Shaheen and Mr. Khayam Bukhari had the opportunity of interviewing the young and dynamic Mr. Hussain Ali Syed and this is what he has to say.
- After Spending years in the field of medicine, what inspired you to write a book on poetry?
First of all I haven’t changed my profession from medicine to poetry. I have always been attached to poetry it has always been an enjoyable past time. The reason that I have published this book now is that previously I was so invested in medicine. Since I had some time on my hands I decided to quickly write a book.
- Tell us something about the book?
My book Come What May is a collection of poetry, prose and letters. It has been divided into three sections winding, unwinding and could never tell you this. The first section talks about the troubles I have faced from bullying to discrimination to other personal things that I have encountered. In the second section I talk about how I dealt with these things using faith and courage. The last section comprises the letters that I wrote but did not have the courage to hand deliver to the people that I wanted to. So it is my way of expressing my gratitude to those from whom I have learnt. On the whole it is a personal experience.
- What inspired you to dive into poetry?
My maternal grandfather late Syed Mazhar Hussain Gillani has been my biggest inspiration in poetry in fact I have even dedicated my book to him. When I was a child my grandfather used to make me write poetry by giving me various topics from nature and so-forth. Moreover, I have always felt liberated by indulging myself into arts. I am into performing arts as writing is a major part of that however, I also draw and sing (laughs).
- What challenges did you face while compiling this book?
- I was in my medicine allied physiatry when I started writing this book as I realized that every single person in the world is fighting a battle of his own. It was challenging in the sense that in Pakistan there is no market for English poetry. I had two options I could either publish the book in Pakistan or publish the book internationally. So I took the tough decision of independently publishing the book and approached Amazon. Gladly the book got approved, I signed the contract and the next day I was a poet.
- What do you think about the current scope of poetry?
Well poetry comes naturally some people are more emotionally intelligent than others. One has to have the aptitude for poetry in order to seriously pursue it as a profession. However, English poetry is not very common in Pakistan expect for the syllabi that we have in the O levels or our Metric system. Pakistani English poets should be encouraged rather than just including foreign English authors in the syllabi. The scope of poetry will not change overnight it will rather change gradually. Rupi Kaur has emerged as a phenomenon poetess by making her poetry commercial through instagram. Some of us would have to sacrifice and pave the way for the new comers.
- Being relatively new to the field of poetry does competition intimidate you?
- No I don’t think it intimidates me since I don’t consider poetry as a profession. I am glad of the fact that my book is doing well as it is on the 174 number on Amazom list which includes 8 million books. So I consider this experience rather encouraging but certainly it has nothing to do with making money from the book.
- Do you have any projects underway after your first book?
I am working on another book which is not poetry, prose or letters. It is actually a story book but it’s too premature to talk about it. Other than that I am working on quite a few projects with some TV channels but I can’t talk about it as of now.
- How do you divide your time between poetry and medicine?
It is actually very difficult to divide time between my profession (medicine) and poetry. Some of the poems included in the book were written when I was in my high school or even before that. So the secret is that if you don’t quit your passion and pursue it parallel to your profession you are likely to manage time.
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