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Prairie slam poets descend on Saskatchewan's Festival of Words
Omar Farah remembers he was in grade 11 when he wrote and performed his first poem.
His teacher was immediately impressed and he ended up performing the piece again for a local news station, which is how Edmonton's poet laureate at the time ended up spotting Farah and his talent.

From there, he was introduced to a community of other slam poets.

He laughs that at first, his parents didn't believe that he was meeting other poets, but instead thought he was doing drugs.

Farah recently competed in the poetry slam competition in Moose Jaw, Sask., for the three-day Saskatchewan Festival of Words, alongside other Prairie poets.

Cultural connection

For Farah, poetry is personal.


"I'm from Somalia and in Somali culture poets are very renowned in the community," he explained.
"Poetry to me is how I stay with my culture, with my roots, with my heritage."

Farah said the majority of his poems are about three things: his culture, Muslim faith or being, as he puts it, a "different black kid."

"I'm nerdy," he said, saying that he's studying in chemical engineering in school when others he knows aren't thinking about education.

Vulnerable experience

Event organizer and spoken word poet Shayna Stock said getting on stage and share your personal stories and work with strangers can be a vulnerable experience.

"It's important work in order to share pieces of ourselves to make connections with other people who are in the audience."

Farah acknowledges he's had to overcome nerves before performing.

When it comes to the writing itself, he compares that process to gold-mining — a poet or writer will have to sift through pages before finding a valuable nugget.

As for his advice for aspiring poets: "Just pick up a pen and start writing. Write everything that comes to your mind, even if it's bad."

The Saskatchewan Festival of Words ends Sunday.

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Primary content on this page
Somali pirates are back...they never really left
28-07-2017

Uhuru pledges traffic police reforms to end bribery on roads
28-07-2017

UN trains mental health practitioners in Somalia’s South West state
28-07-2017

Fear not, you will vote despite al Shabaab attacks, IEBC tells Lamu residents
27-07-2017

Ethiopia urges illegal workers in Saudi Arabia to come home
27-07-2017

US-Somalia mission detains suspected al-Shabab associate
27-07-2017

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam a threat to downstream Nile states, including Egypt
26-07-2017

Injectable HIV drug to offer effective therapy, say scientists
26-07-2017

The standoff between Trump and Sessions escalates
26-07-2017

Al-Shabaab free 7 aid workers in Somalia
25-07-2017


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