On Rain and Embers: A Conversation between Philip Metres and Ali Nuri
In the background, there were always words waiting to be written while I was busying myself with trying to become a more acceptable adult. After the poems were finally written and assembled, I became obsessive about perfecting the basic components of a collection—at one point, I spent 3 weeks locked in one of my rooms with a printer from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. going over font sizes and shapes, comparing every single letter, until I found the one I wanted to use. For me, it was important that the cover matched the writing and conveyed the message I wanted it to convey. In the end, the book was received reasonably well and garnered more attention than my inner critic had been expecting, but that level of perfectionism can become a double-edged sword, leading to constant overthinking and second-guessing. It’s crucial to remind myself that no work is ever truly finished; mistakes are always made in retrospect, but the only way to move is forward. Recognizing the things we would do differently is a sign of growth and dynamic maturity.