These young poets from Slam Out Loud have enthralled audiences from all over the world6 min readReading Time: 4 minutes
Slam Out Loud is a beautiful for mission not for profit that takes the transformational power of the arts to empower disadvantaged children by giving them a space to express themselves.
In 2019, SOL was selected by HundrED as one of the 100 most inspiring educational innovations globally. They have worked with children and youth from low-income communities and conflict areas, Departments of Education of Kashmir and Maharashtra, parents, jail inmates, out of school children, and college-going students. Even during the pandemic, SOL continued to wave its colourful flag all over the world by releasing free access online series of high quality arts-based experiences aimed towards learning through poetry, theater, visual arts, and storytelling. Their WhatsApp channel has a reach of 30,000 children daily, across 16 countries and 23 states in India.
Owliver met up with two of Slam Out Loud’s wondrous young poets, Supriya and Abbas, to know their journey with words, and art!
Supriya is an 11th grader and a Spoken Word artist. She has performed at the National Youth Poetry Slam in Bengaluru, Spoken Fest in Mumbai and at global conferences in Finland and Nepal.
Abbas is a 17-year-old Hindustani Poet. He writes in a language that is a fusion between Hindi and Urdu. He used to rap, and his artwork has now evolved into poetry. He has performed at Kids Education Revolution, Delhi and Spoken Fest, Mumbai among other remarkable stages.
Let’s get to know these trailblazers!
How did it all begin?
Abbas joined Slam Out Loud when he was 14 and has been a poet with them since. His journey started with rap music and brought him to Hindustani poetry. He says, “Writing came early to me through raps, and that brought a sense of rhythm to my art.”
Tune into his powerful words in the video below—
Poetry found Supriya all of a sudden. She says, “I had never thought I will perform in front of thousands of people.” It all started when she wrote her first poem in 7th grade after reading a line from a book that moved her. She adds,
“I wanted to recreate that magic.” Then came Slam Out Loud. Since then, Supriya has not looked back!
What do you consider as your biggest achievement?
For Abbas, it was the moment he felt he brought about a change. He says, “When I was in the 9th grade, my friends and I noticed that a lot of students were being subjected to corporal punishment in my school. So, we organised protests and reached out to NGOs to help us in this situation.” Although, it is still an ongoing process, he is glad that he raised his voice against this injustice. “What we achieved was that we made our immediate environments safer,” he adds.
Before poetry, Supriya saw herself as a shy person. Now, she travels all over the world, speaks to artists from different parts of the world, and recites her poems before huge audiences. She says,”My biggest achievement is my belief in myself!
Who is your favourite poet and why?
For Abbas, it is Hussain Haidry. He says, “His poems, charged with the political climate of his world, don’t overwhelm the reader but they also don’t leave the reader underwhelmed.”
Supriya is not fond of the word favourite as it limits her appreciation!
She says,” I am just grateful that I can read the work of so many wonderful poets, including my friends.”
Watch Supriya unfold magic on stage in the video below—
How do they unwind?
Abbas, a self-proclaimed “big procrastinator” spends his time away from writing by worrying about not writing. He adds, “The only time I find myself resting is after I have written a poem.” Abbas also likes to listen to music, especially ghazals by Iqbal Bano and Begum Akhtar.
For Supriya, its all about time management. She reads and writes poetry. She is also a thinker! She adds,”I like to learn something new everyday.”
What motivates them to write?
Abbas is motivated by “exposure to new art and new vocabulary.” He adds, “Once I just had to write a whole poem around a word I just learnt.” Real life situations and his relationship with the people in his life also make him write.
Supriya finds motivation in the feeling she gets after writing a poem.
Who inspires them?
Jason Silva, from National Geographic’s Brain Games, inspires Abbas for “the way he uses language to articulate beautiful experiences.” Abbas is also inspired by the CEO and founder of SOL, Jigyasa Labroo, and his Political Science teacher, Ishani Banerjee.
For Supriya, the constant source of inspiration lies in life. She says, “Life inspires me to write. Even a leaf or a flower can make me write! I write what I experience.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, Abbas wishes to be a great poet! Abbas says, “I will love to see myself with more intellectual capacity, and a better understanding of societal nuances.” He hurriedly adds, “I hope my career revolves around these things”.
Supriya poetically says, “Life is so uncertain so that’s tough to answer!” She goes to add, “I want to do what I love and what makes me happy. I want to go to places, meet more people, contribute to poetry, and help people like me who are shy to break out of their shells and realise their true potential.”
Their message for our readers—
Owliver learnt so much from these young poets, and poetry was just a part of it!
What about you? Let Owliver know in the comments , below.
(Trailblazers is a weekly column that celebrates youngsters who are inventors and experts in their fields)