Catalyst: A Collection of Poetry by Hanan Seid, a Handmade Storybook by Sushmita Mazumdar
Hanan Seid was Studio Pause’s first artist-in-residence starting in May 2016. She came referred by AHC’s resident services, (AHC Inc owns the Gates of Ballston property where Studio Pause is located), because she was a resident of the community and had been a volunteer with their after-school program for resident children, also hosted in the Rinker Community Center, where the Studio is.
When attending her first Studio event, Rana Jaafar Yaseen’s art show reception and poetry reading, Hanan, who was studying journalism at NoVA, came up with a project she wanted to work on. “I have hosted many open mics,” she said, “but there are always some who don’t come up and share because they are intimidated by the mic.” The acoustics in the Studio and the size was such that she wanted to try out a Mic-Less Night series, an open mic with no mic, created for those who don’t like the mic. Would they come? Would they share?
Over the years, we watched them come, share, and become part of the Studio. Hanan taught us how to write poetry like she does (and be again, like we used to be, when we were young and fiery), and host like she does—gently, and always with a smile and humor, while showing others the way. I have introduced Hanan to many I have worked with and included her and her work in projects I have done. And so, I was thrilled when she said she would like to collaborate with me in creating books of her poetry!
A limited-edition teaser, ˈpōətəs was created in two weeks and launched at the Mic Night 2019 at Dar Al–Hijrah Islamic Center, in Falls Church, VA. Hanan picked a format from my box of book samples and I adapted it to work with materials she liked which I had at the Studio. She learned bookmaking from me and worked on all 25 copies herself, folding, measuring, sewing. Much more than just a poet, her skills, aesthetic, and ideas got a chance to be part of the project. At one point, she laughed and said into a video she was shooting as she sewed, “You know, it’s funny that I am sewing. My dad is a tailor.” Needless to say, there were many other things that came up for her as she worked on the books and shared stories about her life and her family. And at the Mic Night, the books got a lot of compliments and sold out. The poet’s hand was very much a part of the book!
Catalyst: cat·a·lyst /ˈkad(ə)ləst/ noun: a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change.
A full-length poetry book in a more traditional design but still Handmade at the Studio, Catalyst will be open to pre-order on Hanan’s 24th birthday on March 29, 2020!
“The word Catalyst means a lot to me. I think of these three things, my tradition, my voice, and my heart as the catalysts which make me who I am today.” ~ Hanan
We will take orders through April, National Poetry Month, and then make and ship the books to you. Of course, we have no idea how the current coronavirus situation will affect all this, but hopefully you will get the books in May-June, 2020.
Hanan Seid Her home is in Arlington but her heart is at Hogwarts. Hanan is an activist in training, artist, future journalist, trailblazer, and more. She’s a published poet. A painter and founder of Mic-Less Night series at Studio Pause, which gives the community a space to share their story. She is an immigrant, Black, Muslim, woman and uses poetry and art to express her story/ perspective. Follow Hanan @hananwrites_ or email her at email@example.com.
Pre-Order your limited-edition copy of Catalyst here!
The first edition of the 20-poem book will be of 45 copies, with a black and gold cover made from paper Sushmita brought from India. 8.5” x 5.5” in size, priced at $35 the handmade poetry book will be made in Studio Pause, Arlington, VA.
Chapbook details coming soon!