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16th March 2017

Tongue and Tradition: How Manal Younus Weaves Poetry

By Manal Younus

My grandmother raised me for the first few years of my life before I came to Australia. After we parted, each time I saw her, communication became harder as the language and cultural gap between us grew. The last time I saw her, I could barely speak, so I would listen. We bonded over making meshrefets together.

 Listen to Manal read 'Meshrefet' here »

Meshrefets are such an important part of our cultures because they are used in all of the daily activities. I was often alone with my grandmother. Half the time was spent listening to stories about our hometown and my father’s childhood. The other half was spent sitting in silence, watching, learning, experimenting, understanding. The way they are made is so intricate and particular like everything my grandmother does.

Process: I always say my poems aloud while I am writing as rhythm is a big part of my writing process. Because I don’t plan the poem, I don’t know where it’s going as I’m writing it. After I have built the bulk of a poem, I go over it and refine it, remove what no longer needs to be there and change some words, rearrange some stanzas and decide how the poem will end.

Advice: I think it’s important not only to think about why your item is important, but also think about why it is important for you to write about and share it.  


Manal Younus is a Commissioned Poet for Poetry Object

Manal Younus is a South Australian based storyteller. As a Muslim with Eritrean origins living in Australia, the young writer and spoken word artist uses her poetry to both discover and strengthen her identity as well as to spark thought and discussions amongst those around her. Read more »

 Listen to Manal read 'Meshrefet' here »