1. Why did you start writing?
"Well, from an early age I have always loved reading non-fiction. I’ve always loved the development of language and how it flows or does not etc. However, it was more just a coincidence I suppose. I started writing properly around 15/16 and started to send in works to my school newspaper at 16/17. I never really saw it taking off, or being important or having some other unforeseen impact. But, in the end I believe that why I continue to write is very simple. Out of some enjoyment, but mainly so that others can find themselves in words they can’t quite write down. Most of my poems are very socially directed, so I believe my writing is almost exclusively targeted to dealing with inequality, sans a few more niche topics."
2. How do you know when a poem is done?
"Well, controversially I do not endlessly edit. I usually write poetry on a device and then copy it over to the computer and reread once. The main thing for me, is that I believe that poems should be written correctly the first-time round. As in, I would rather spend 30 minutes on 1 poem than edit it incessantly for ages. I think a poem is truly done once its written, if it has been written with focus. Otherwise, I would say, rather strangely too, that I believe a poem is done once it has been published."
3. Your latest poetry book, Vultures, deals with nature and death. While writing these poems, when did you realize you had material for a book?
"In all honesty, I wrote this book with a concrete narrative in mind. What you’ll notice about ‘Vultures’ is that its narrative progresses through layers of decaying character, substance and life, until death consumes mortal struggle. I wrote this poem as a whole over about two weeks with the exclusion of 1 poem added in from elsewhere that worked very well. When I write collections or novels or any longer work. I take the time to either briefly plan, or usually just think about what impact I want it to have on readers. Death overtakes us all, nature too, so my aim with this collection is to present a narrative that is fiction based, but with layers of realism, postmodern truth and honesty. I see this as A.R.Salandy unfiltered in some ways as it is very reflective of some of my own personal musings."
4. You are the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Fahmidan Journal & Publishing. Why did you decide to establish your own magazine and press? Has this experience affected your writing?
"Ranna & I always wanted to start something like Fahmidan and after talking for about two months we just said ‘why not!’ Our goal with the press is to publish & promote Women, POC & other minorities as presses often, continuously overlook these groups beyond tokenism. Our team wholeheartedly believes in our focus on equality and inclusion. We were very frustrated with seeing line ups of just all men or specific groups purely based on covert exclusion. Beyond this, we wanted our journal (open to all) to be a place of some form of social assistance and discourse as with our ‘Social Dilemmas & Triumphs’ Issue 4 and ‘Autoimmune & Mental Health Warriors’ Issue 6. I couldn’t say if Fahmidan has changed my writing as my writing has very few changes. I am not very experimental and prefer to write concise, directed writing, which makes me sound old LOL."
5. Where do you draw inspiration?
"Lived Experiences, Travel, Nature (in the desert and elsewhere). But also, from very mundane things like bird watching and walking."
6. You speak multiple languages. Do you write poetry in different languages?
"Sometimes! I have a few poems out that incorporate Latin & Italian and one coming out with a little Dutch. I would love to publish more with stronger foreign language usage, however, finding places to send them to is hard. I think writing poetry in other languages has taught me a lot as well. I use my dictionaries more and expand on the language lessons I do daily. Such application has given me a new outlook to language."
7. What do you hope people take away from your work?
"A sense of work ethic and honesty. But mainly a personalization of my words that gives some form of comfort through an honest and frank presentation. I also hope people become more aware of the heavy inequality that pervades all facets of society."
8. What other project(s) do you hope to take on someday?
"Well, I currently have quite a lot of work on, but I would definitely like to see more of my collections published. I think that a lot of getting writing out is really just getting to know the right way to explain your work and who to submit to, rather than solely the work itself. Thus, my current focus is on learning more about these areas. Perhaps a few new writing projects too, but time will tell!"
9. What writing advice do you find totally useless?
"Planning (somewhat) as it works for a lot of people, just not for me. I also believe that a lot of emphasis is placed on having an MFA or PHD rather than on the quality of writing itself. I used to hate how patronizing people could be regarding the gatekeeping of Poetry & Prose and really, the literary world as a whole. Age and qualification do not guarantee great work, dedication, continuous practice and 1000s of submissions do, I believe."
10. And finally, what do you enjoy doing that you don’t talk about enough. Tell me all about it!
"I do love my languages. I practice 2-4 a day using a daily rota and depending on what my goal is for that language. For example, on Sundays I do Dutch & Welsh. The latter of which I am starting to string more sentences together, but grammar is absolutely brutal! Aside from languages, I absolutely adore good House Music. I play a lot of Moon Boots, Prince Innocence, Anto & Lyle M etc while I write and just in general. I honestly think more poets should listen to house, it’s just such a versatile genre."
Hear A.R.Salandy read his poem "Vultures."
A.R.Salandy (he/him) is a mixed-race poet & writer whose work tends to focus on social inequality throughout late-modern society. Anthony travels frequently and has spent most of his life in Kuwait jostling between the UK & America. Anthony's work has been published 160 times. Anthony has 2 published chapbooks titled The Great Northern Journey 2020 (Lazy Adventurer Publishing ) & Vultures 2021 (Roaring Junior Press). Anthony is also the Co-Eic of Fahmidan Journal. He can be found on both Twitter and Instagram @anthony64120 and on his author page.