Spine 2024 AiRs

Zohab is part of SPINE Festival 2024, along with an incredible team of poets they’ll be leading workshops and arts activities for children in Libraries and schools across London this Spring.

Describe yourself in 3 words…

Go Go Go

What inspires you?

Hearing and reading many of the poets I am blessed to come into contact with. I also find the work and application of many of my students both adult and children a great source of being at one with my craft. Seeing other poets I have known for a long time and worked with getting the recognition they deserve is also very uplifting.

Tell us about your worst ever gig?

I was part of a 3 person spoken word show in the 90s that did an Edinburgh Festival run. On one of the nights , there were about 7 people in the audience ( which was always going to be tricky) but for some reason,  even though we were all actually pretty good with our sets, we couldn’t lift or get a reaction from this crowd. It felt more and more like a wake with every minute. Afterwards I wrote a message to myself about this ( a kind of counter-spell) I still carry it around with me today,  in case this Bermuda Triangle of reaction ever occurs again!

What’s your number one poetry pet peeve?

That at some gigs there are more people on stage than in the audience (controversial I know) at my regular nights I’ve run over the years express excess, 1995 – 2013, & Poetry & Poppadums, 2004 to present I usually have 4 poets max and 50-100 people there to see it! (my kind of ratio).

Whose words do you love at the moment?

Oo so many words to love. Paul Cree, Carine Harb, Hannah Lowe, Skye Radford, Holly McNish and Lemn Sissay’s to name buy a few.

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

I wouldn’t. My younger self had the most amazing and fun time forging ahead in the world of poetry, making so many friends and wonderful memories along the way. I won’t want to do anything that steps on the butterfly of history that could change the past.

How do you relate to the themes of magic & imagination?

I totally relate to them. As a kid Sci-fi and fantasy books were my fav. I have two wonderful daughters who also thrived on that genre, so I’ve pretty much been immersed in that theme all my life.

What do you enjoy most about working with children, families and libraries?

Books and people who love books are the best combination. Libraries are a gift and a god send. My kids read so many books, if we’d bought every one of them I’d have needed to plant a money Orchard! I love the energy kids bring, time in their company is a real honour.

If you could spend a day in a fictional world, what world would it be?

There are so many wonderful fictional worlds. In the morning I’d have like to be ‘Emily’s friend in Bagpuss, and hide in the shop with her and just watch everything come alive. In the afternoon, I’d hang out in a Roger Robinson Poetry anthology and feel its sounds, characters and memories on my skin. Night time would be given over to running with the crowds in epic novels like Doctor Shivago.

About Paul Lyalls

One time Poet in Residence for the Roald Dahl Family & Museum. Paul has worked with Arsenal FC , The 2012 London Olympics, Gladtonbury, Spurs & even NASA!  

His work appears in over 30 books and collections and he recently had a poem he wrote  about Stephen Lawrence accepted in the World Wide anthology ‘Black Lives Matter’ 100 poems to change the world.

Michael Rosen describes Paul as ‘ A kind of magic that makes you see the world in a different way’

Twitter: @paullyalls

Website: www.paul-lyalls.uk