On October 16th, Vancouver-based poet Hasan Namir launches his new poetry book “Umbilical Cord” (2021), alongside with writer Isabella Wang. The event will take place at the Massy Arts Gallery in Vancouver, from 5pm to 6pm.
In this interview for Massy, Namir shares thoughts on parenthood, hopefulness, and love.
Massy Books | In Umbilical Cord’s synopsis, the word hope comes out more than once. In your opinion, what is the connection between parenthood and hopefulness?
Hasan Namir | Hopefulness, the possibility that two men can have a baby and with love, this possibility becomes a reality. The book is essentially the embodiment of hope, the dream that is fulfilled for two hopeful parents in a way that is so heart-warming. This book is like the umbilical cord – the idea that hope and love are parallel, and the two make the impossible possible. Also gratefulness for my sister-in-law Kiran, whose love for her brother and brother-in-law gave them the hope that they can have a family together. The love is the reality that grounds us and makes us better people.
Massy Books | Daniel Zomparelli sees Umbilical Cord as queer revisionism, a story of a family that shows how love can link people together, pushing against the heterocentrism of childrearing. What do you think is the central message of your book?
HN | The book has the universal message that family is love, that family comes in different forms but the what brings them all together is the same for all families. I want this book to be open the doors and show the world that queer families exist and that our voices need to be heard and not erased. I want one day for Malek to grow up and read books that reflect his family and his experiences. I really hope that Umbilical Cord opens that door and that we see a surge in queer family literature. We are longing for our stories of our families to be written.
Massy Books | Could you choose one poem that we could share with our readers? Why did you choose this poem?
HN | I choose Your Smile, My Kangaroo. The poem is simple in its illustration of the bond between a dad and his son. The poem evokes that the bond is love and it also feels nostalgic over the times when I held Malek on my chest in the Kangaroo baby wrap. Those were the best feelings in the world for me.
Your Smile, My Kangaroo
You don’t like sleeping in your bassinet
You want to be in my arms, or your dad’s
The hospital gave us the kangaroo outfit
A clothing pouch with straps
Tied to protect and keep you within
The design promotes skin-to-skin
Within me, all the oxytocin feels
“The more, the better.”
I am like the kangaroo holding his child
You are trying to fight your sleep
You want to be present in the moment
Your smile gives me life even when I’m low
I pray to God to protect you, my kangaroo
“Your Smile, My Kangaroo” from Umbilical Cord © 2021 by Hasan Namir.
Used with permission of Book*hug Press.
Books will also be available for sale at the event.
In person events: Due to the latest recommendations from the BC Health Authority, all guests attending in-person events at Massy Arts require double-vaccination and must wear a mask.