Shagufta K. Iqbal: In the Spotlight Interview

A+S: Describe yourself in 3 words…
Deluded. Stubborn. A believer
What inspires you?
My children, music, Autumn & Spring, tea & cake, walks in the rain; writing is a love.
Tell us about your worst ever gig?
One where, male poets will walk on to stage and disrupt feminist spaces. Womxn have worked really hard to create a space for themselves in what was once a very male dominated spoken word scene. Often female co-performers, hosts, and promoters are expected to excuse this kind of provocation/ disruption. If they challenge it, they are labelled as aggressive, shutting down dialogue, or wanting to live in echo chambers.
When in reality female led spaces are far and few between, and in a patriarchal world we have every right to demand to work in safe spaces, something we often do not get in our day to day reality.
Furthermore, the lack of safety in the spoken word scene is very unsettling, often you are expected to perform in late evenings, in alcohol filled environments, baring your soul, and exposing a very vulnerable side to yourself, with little safe guarding off stage. I feel this inequality really needs to be addressed in the spoken word scene, and more measures need to be taken to protect womxn in spoken word spaces.
What’s your number one poetry pet peeve?
The hypocrisy & misogyny in the spoken word scene,
poets standing on stage in defence of justice and equality, and not calling it out off stage.
Whose words do you love at the moment?
Zeba Talkani, Nadia Malik, Zahrah Sheikh & Malaika Booker.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
You. Are. The. Shit.
Circumstance is not a reason to be held to one place.
Trainers or shoes?
Depends on the occasion! Although Timbs are a regular go to.