Have you ever projected your own awkwardness onto someone else? How did you do it? And how would you address them now?
This poem recalls how, as a young adult, Zaffar Kunial judged his immigrant father’s way of speaking English. A poem that’s filled with adolescence as with awkward parental relationships, it also speaks of his yearning to fit in, to enjoy his own life. Shame features in this poem — the younger poet had been ashamed of his father’s grammar, but now, with time, he seems ashamed to have been that son.
Zaffar Kunial was born in Birmingham to an English mother and a Kashmiri father. He has served poet-in-residence for the Wordsworth Trust and Ledbury Poetry Festival, and has spoken at various literature festivals and on BBC Radio. His poem “The Word” won the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize. Us is his first collection.
Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.