Being bought up in Poland, I was never exposed to poems by Dr Benjamin Zephaniah. Naturally, I wanted to find out who this poet was, as all my friends at uni were excited about a lecture we were to have with him. I had never heard about what happens to Talking Turkeys at Christmas time, but I’m sure I’d be as excited to see the poet with my own eyes as well.
I asked my boyfriend and his family, at the weekend, about who this poet was, and they gave the same reaction as people at uni. I thought that there’s got to be something to his writing that made him stick in kids’ minds.
After hearing him present his poetry, I understood. There was energy and involvement, and I sure felt like a well entertained child after hearing I love My Mother. Looking back at it now, I wish I had read more of this poet, before hearing him speak.
As the lecture went on I became more and more interested. The poems felt deeper the more of them I heard. This poet wasn’t just good with words. He had a message. He spoke out about the things that also bothered me in society and politics. His poetry had a punch to it, which forced the listener to think. It demanded to be thought about.
The poem Rong Radio Station had stayed with me throughout that day. I think that hearing it read by it’s composer tripled the impact of Dr Zephaniah’s message. I felt like asking a thousand questions, after he had finished the lecture, but was too anxious and just let myself contemplate the words in his poems, because there was so much thought and questioning in them.
Zephaniah’s poetry is not only inspiring, his whole way of being is. I encourage you to find out more about his work and do go to see him if you can.