Perla Kantarjian is a Lebanese-Armenian writer from Beirut. Her works have been and are forthcoming in the International Literary Quarterly, Rusted Radishes, Indelible, The Hellebore, Otherwise Engaged, and more. Her piece, “We Want to Pull Our Roots from the Middle”, can be found in EPOCH Issue 02: Aftermath, available to purchase here.
What books did you grow up reading?
Oh, all sorts of books, really — and in the three languages I have always been surrounded by: Armenian, Arabic, and English. Growing up, I’ve always had a thing for the classics. I was never one to favor the contemporary over the ancient; until I was about fifteen or so. However, when it comes to reading poetry books in specific, the contemporary has recently become my go-to option.
What is the most challenging aspect of your creative process?
The letting-the-world-in-on-my-personal-thoughts thingy. I have always been an introverted person. I mean, I still have the toy safe in which I used to lock my poems away when I was a teenager. It was only when I got into the field of journalism that I slowly understood the importance of getting my words out there. I had to go through rough periods of forcing myself to step out of my bubble and find comfort in the fact that people were enjoying my ideas, however, the level of comfort I now have with the idea of getting published is one my seventeen-year-old self never thought I could attain. It was not always pretty, and I still have days when I need to remind myself of the importance of getting my poetry into the world for them to actually have the desired effect. I am still a work in progress, but thankfully, seeing my name next to my published stories for the entire world to read no long gives me the jitters it used to. At least on most days.
What does your writing space look like?
Funny you should bring this up — last week I finally curated my writing space to look the way I have always dreamt it to be. The walls are baby blue to remind me of the ocean, the space brims with freshly-picked flowers and plants to surround myself with earthen vivacity, I have my typewriter, an oak-wood writing desk, and a coffee-machine. Oh, and of course, a book-shelf carrying all my favourites, and a view of the Mediterranean sea from my window. It is my personal version of “A Room of One’s Own”.
Who is your biggest artistic supporter?
I delight in the fact that I surround myself with incredibly supportive beings. Not once have I encountered anyone who has criticised my choice of pursuing a career in writing. Of course, you have the “can you actually live off that?” wonderings, but when a rational answer is provided, the heartfelt blessing always seems to ensue. And so, I am indebted to everyone in my life who has accompanied me in this journey of unleashing myself into the world of literature with their constant support. Without them, my poems would perhaps still be locked inside that toy safe, out of the reach of the world.
Where can we follow you and find your work?
@wordsbyperla on Instagram