Hassen Saker

What are you working on?

Oh, that’s a loaded question to start with! I’ll try to keep to my purely creative projects, rather than the documentary films and interviews, social network organization and entrepreneurial stuff. That being [not] said, I’ve been working on a multimedia ‘novel’ project for over 20 years, which spawns sub-projects via my characters. It’ll likely be in process for the rest of my life, I expect. Two of those sub-projects are Sky Journals and BRUTSky Journals is a poetry triptych I started about 10 years ago and it’s pretty much written – I just need to edit the last 1/3 and figure out what I want to do with the project – submit for publishing or make it into a handmade art book. BRUT, about a possible serial killer, is something I’ve been working on for at least seven years and I’m hoping to be finished with it this year. It’s a character study, essentially, explored via verse and multimedia. I’m now collaborating on this with my partner, artist Heather Saker.

Besides those projects, I’ve been working for a number of years on these little poetries called crabapples, which feature a title and one line of verse. These things are like riddles for me, how to best get across a wry, ironic or bitter idea with the least amount of words in verse. Terse verse! It’s been a hobby, really – usually brewing when I’m bored while driving. There are probably at least a hundred or two by now. I’ve noticed I’m not as inspired so much with these anymore so I’m probably going to wrap it up and do something with them. Heather is making some nice line-drawings for these, as well.

Oh, and I’m fired up about a brand new project that I don’t want to talk much about yet but it is taking me in a whole new direction.

Tell me about your writing.

I write experimental fiction and/or conceptual verse, I guess. I’m never sure what to call it, as is ironically appropriate. The poetry is free verse, occasionally with meter, and it usually has a conceptual ground and some sort of device here and there. The fiction is multimedia and verse, and would probably be considered postmodern, though I know how obnoxious that sounds and I try to avoid saying it. I’m waiting to hear from The Management what we’re calling it these days. Quantum School? TechnoPidgin? HoloRealism? Objective Subjectivism?

My writing style with poetry could be ‘packed minimalism’ but barely so (ahem), being a smattering of articles, after all. I’m intrigued with human psychology as literary investigation. I mean, I’m not so much a fan of the DSM or concepts of conventional psychology, but the literary intrigue, fueled by imagination, pushes toward transformation, and that’s what I’m ultimately interested in. The texture probably comes from mood, imagery and [concepts of] sciences – theoretical physics, biologies, cosmology and such. I’m probably too close to it to properly describe it.


Do you collaborate with artists/ writers/ musicians?

Yes. I wouldn’t have imagined myself doing it so much, even as recent as a few years ago, but now I’m excited to be working with Heather on creative stuff. A few friends recently got together to form an art & writing group and we’ll be collaborating within the group as well as with ‘guests’ for events. Then, with film and other projects I’m beginning, I’m working with all sorts of creatives from game architects and graphic designers to musicians and others.

Plans for the future?

I’d like to afford healthcare and haircuts. Research for future projects would also be nice, which would surely include travel to exotic locations.

What do you do for fun?

Geek out on technology. Watch good films. Write or play music, sing. Spend time with my wife. Hang out with my son. Take long drives. Spend time with good friends, preferably while eating good food. Crack stupid jokes and laugh at others’ jokes. Walk in nature, gape at birds. And by ‘birds’ I mean birds, or other creatures. I’m a real fan of the sea.

What’s on your mind?

A new project that feels humongous but very exciting. Besides that, I’m feeling a lot about what’s going on in Japan and the Middle East. Oh, AND, I’m continually pissed over this useless domination paradigm, some call ‘The Patriarchy,’ and its agents.

Is any of your work political?

I don’t usually directly appeal for legislation or policy issues in my creative work, if that’s what you mean. I do in my other work – that is, with sustainable business and via the non-profit stuff, which promotes social and environmental responsibility (maturity). I used to stay away from the dirty ‘P’ word in public but now I understand it as the thing we all should be very vigilant about, and be involved in, to preserve this fragile democracy and a decent way of life for ourselves. In a democracy, being involved in politics is really about self-reliance and responsible adulthood. It irks me that so many creatives, with all their ethics and passion for justice, at least in conversation, seem to recoil at political action. It’s understandable but we need more of us doing some heavy lifting, if only for short stints. In any case, I try to keep my creative projects about inner workings, and advocate for change within, which, if successful, may, with other stimuli in/to the reader, work toward [the eventuality of] social and political improvement. I’m a believer in the arts – as tools for understanding humanity, thus investing humans in the concern for humans, which includes the ecosystem that sustains them.

What are you currently interested in?

Chaos theory as it relates to sustainability. Hackers. The future. Perpetual interest in the beauty and brilliance of nature. Abundance, e.g. a good night’s sleep.

What are you reading?

A few books on documentary film-making, a book about game design, A Passion for Nature: the Life of John Muir by Donald Worster, and a couple absolutely brilliant things from friends of mine – Shannon McGill’s memoirs and Ethel Rackin’s poetry manuscript, The Frame of Forever. Both are some of the best, most flavorful, realest, stuff I’ve read in years, like two necessary swigs of forest air. Exactly like their authors.

What websites do you visit each day?

Much of my news comes from Facebook where I can check recent posts & visit sites like Huffington Post, Make Magazine, TEDtalks, Bioneers, Food & Water Watch, CommonDreams, ACLU, Organic Consumers’ Association, oh, and MANUFACTURED DISSENT!

What types of music/ audio are you listening to these days?

I’ve been enjoying silence a lot lately, and listening for the occasional music in my head. I’d like to procure the new Radiohead and Fleet Foxes releases. Otherwise, I keep listening to Andrew Bird, Niyaz and Lissie when I need to put something on in the car. I went to hear a local New Jazz group recently – Norman David and the Eleventet, and was moved to tears. Maybe I was hormonally emotional but I suspect they’re rather fantastic. Find them on Mondays at the Plays and Players Theater Black Box, starting again in the fall.


Tell us about a few of your favorite spots in NJ? Philly?

I did about a five-year stretch of being out at networking events and business commitments, presentations, festivals, and whatnot, for what seemed like every other day/evening. That being said, these days I’m really enjoying home and our front porch now that it’s getting warmer. Otherwise, there are a couple of spots where I enjoy mellowing out with family and friends or walking with Heather and our dogs, all of which I like to keep on the DL. I know NJ doesn’t have the best shoreline but the sea is my temple of choice.



2 thoughts on “Hassen Saker

    1. What a delightful interview. No matter how much I know of Hassen, I am always pleasantly surprised by the depths of her insight. I loo forward to the days I will be able to spend quality time in her presence, observing and partaking in the conversations and artistic endeavors of her world.

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