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  • uofmichigan"I’ve been writing since about 6th grade and performing since the 7th. When I write, I try to give awareness to things most people think about in their daily lives. Mostly, I write about my experiences as a woman, immigrant, Muslim, etc. I also try to put focus on things around the world like FGM (female genital mutilation), and the Korean Comfort Woman phenomenon in World War II. "Why do I write? Well, I’m not really a ‘skilled artist’ in any other domains. So this is the only way I can get my thoughts out in a creative way. And creativity is so important; when you speak creatively, people listen. I mean, I could just go up on stage and rant—but if I introduce these issues in a way that people recognize as beautiful, they’ll listen. They’ll pay attention." "Inspiration finds me in random places. Oftentimes, it’ll come when I’m researching something for a class. For example, I first learned about Korean comfort women when I was in high school and I thought: ‘Why don’t more people know about this?’, and the poem just kind of came to me from there. Other times, I base my poems off the things that I see—I strive to create imagery that sheds light on things that people wouldn’t ordinary think about." "I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of connections in the poetry community. I’ve been a two-time Detroit Poetry Team member, and I’ve represented the city of Detroit in the international youth poetry slam. In 2015, my team was featured in the grand final stage for the Brave New Voices national poetry competition. "Aside from competing, I perform around Detroit a lot. I get a lot of inspiration from the city. Actually, my first published poem was about Detroit. In my opinion the community, tenacity, and passion of the city has a big impact on Detroit writers. It’s hard to escape Detroit when you’re a writer. But I’m more than ok with that. "This particular poem was hard for me to write, but I’m ok with that. There are certain topics that are difficult for me—parents are definitely one. So this allowed me to make my voice heard." Hear the rest of this piece on Michigan Radio's Website: myumi.ch/JDyEX

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