Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Zaira Pirzada Interview - Qurbaan: A Poet's Liberation

Photo Content from Zaira Pirzada

Zaira Pirzada is a multi-lingual poet, an artist, a technologist, and an academic. Her art is inspired by her wide range of professional roles and the double-conscious experience of being an Indian-Pakistani-American woman. As a Meisner-trained actress from the world-renowned William Esper Studio, she counts acting and performing her poetry in spoken word form among her greatest artistic passions. When Zaira is not writing poetry or practicing her many arts, she is advising large and small enterprises in the data and cybersecurity space, and in furthering their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives. Zaira holds an M.A. in International Affairs focused in security, intelligence, and crisis communications. She is in the midst of furthering her education by pursuing an M.S. in Engineering in Data Science and Security Informatics from Johns Hopkins University. Zaira has worked at leading think tanks, and appeared in international media and television for her experience in acting and intelligence gathering.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I don’t think I got to choose this. Is that weird? Writing is how I live. How I think. How I emote. How I understand the world beyond me, around me and within me. I held it close to me for so long. It feels good to share it now. I don’t know if I have a calling to fulfill through writing for the world. I just know that it completes me. Writing is my greatest, most precious lover for life.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I sold a ton of copies. And it’s not the money that gets me at all. It never was and never will be. It’s not anything more than someone taking out the finite time they have in life to read my words. That’s most rewarding. I appreciate anyone that takes their own time out of their lives to appreciate my work. It means the world to me.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
This Pandemic. I became so preoccupied with fear, anxiety and matters of life and death. That stress isn’t conducive for Art if it persists over a long period of time. There wasn’t much room to digest what was happening around me, so how could there be ample time to digest what was within me to write this? It was a feat to even get something out and put whatever I had running on E into it. I love what this has become. To me, it’s a product of the time. Meaning, of the hundreds of pieces that made it through my yay/nay filter, came 30 pieces—a good number of which are related to the Pandemic times. It’s all that I could focus on, so that is what Qurbaan became. A distraction for sure, but also a memory too.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
To know who we are, we must know where we come from. Word gives us this power. Sound gives us this power. Sight. All of our senses help tell a story. Without stories in all symbolic forms, we’re just created wanderers from nowhere off to nowhere.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from QURBAAN
How about favorite poems? I would say Home-Bound and Naught to Be Coy. Home-Bound was written and rewritten countless times. I don’t remember the first version. Sometimes I mix up words and thoughts in my head from the editing process, and I even look at it now and believe I can rework some of it. It’s that one piece that I always have something more to say, and that piece that is most cryptic to others…because it’s so close to me.

Naught to Be Coy was just me marveling at my lover like Andrew Marvell at his own lover in To His Coy Mistress. When I’m in love, I think in poetry. I wrote this in a very deep state of love, and it holds the sweetness of those moments. This piece reminds me that all of love, all of life is just a collection of moments. I choose to immortalize them in word.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I spend a lot of time with the work of other artists across disciplines. I will listen to South Asian classical music — instrumental only, and think of words. I will watch visual art in progress and make the story, and sometimes I’ll watch movies or shows without subtitles and on mute to conjure up a scene word-by-word in my mind. The greatest artists is the Creator of nature around us, so I’ll sit in nature as well, and appreciate, and think.

A Devotee; A Martyr; A Sacrifice. Qurbaan is a word that is tragically romantic in its context. Qurbaan signifies a relentless and passionate devotion to something. Qurbaan is what I think of when my truth becomes the poetry that liberates my mind. This is my journey through love; through loss; through becoming in America. My truth is my sacrifice for the women, like myself, who will raise the next generation far from our ancestors.

You can purchase Qurbaan: A Poet's Liberation at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you CREATIVE EDGE for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. I would choose a day when all my grandparents were alive, so we could all spend more time together.

  2. Would like to live on the day I make the most money so I can respend all that

  3. A day within one year of my birth, and I would bring that memory back.

  4. The day my son started to walk! Really, any moment with him as a baby I would love to relive

  5. I would choose the day I let someone close to me take advantage of me, I'd say no. It's something that has affected me for a very long time.

  6. I would love to rewind to an uneventful day 6 years ago when I could have had a conversation with my sister about inconsequential things.

  7. "If you had one day in your life to live over, which would you choose and why?" Many, many days where there were adverse consequences!

  8. The day we had our car hit I wish we had not been out that day.