Dorrigo waterfalls with Zohab Khan, poet
Zohab Zee Khan the current Australian Poetry Slam champion is headlining Naked Lunch 2015 on Sunday and giving some workshops this week. Wyn and I took him up to Dorrigo because he loves waterfalls, as he says on facebook:
I interviewed him last week – here is an extract:
How did you come to find poetry so exhilarating? It’s quite a minority sport here in Australia?
I’ve always loved words, my passion for rap music started from a young age and evolved into a passion for poetry. My Grandfather is a poet, his Grandfather was a horseback warrior. I like to think my poetry is a combination of my ancestors. Poetry runs in my blood.
What are the current themes you are writing/performing?
I am very much influenced by the world around me. We are too busy consuming mass media and being moulded to fit inside a mainstream box. I strive to make my poetry an alternate voice, given my background I think I have been gifted with the unique ability to objectively view things from both sides and present a rational voice.
What’s the best thing about performing in schools?
That shocked looks I get to see on the kids’ faces. Usually the students enter the room dragging their feet thinking they are going to hear poetry, by the end of the performance their preconceptions have been shattered and they’re really excited about the power of words.
We are language animals and yet our contemporary culture is so visual, do you think poetry can really empower language?
Without a doubt. Poetry is the art of words, I have learnt more new words reading and listening to poetry then I ever did in year 12 English class. Poetry empowers us. I’ve found that spoken word poetry has made language more consumable and allowed me to express myself in a way that I have never been able to do before.