Using poetry as a conduit for change
I’m Shehzar Doja from Bangladesh and I’m in my final year as a Doctor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
My ambition is to show that poetry can change the world and give a voice to the voiceless.
Poetry has a unique capacity to express so many fundamental human emotions and be a bridge between people. I have known this through my own personal experiences growing up and working in the field, how much human dignity can be brought out to shine.
Alongside the poet and editor James Byrne, I travelled to the world’s largest refugee camps where we conducted the first poetry workshops ever held there.
With these workshops, we brought out 'I am a Rohingya: Poetry from the camps and beyond' (Arc,2019), an anthology written by Rohingya refugees which was the first book of its kind ever published and has garnered press coverage across the world.
Before that I founded The Luxembourg Review, an English literary journal during my time living in the Grand Duchy and published my own collection of poetry alongside reading and moderating panels at various festivals in the UK, Luxembourg and Bangladesh.
Throughout the next year I will continue to be involved in poetry projects and readings. There is such potential for poetry to act as a driving force for all the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, through literary activism.
I felt my department was one of the best in the UK for the degree I wanted to study. The tutors are so fantastic, kind and generous and so established in their respective fields that I considered it a privilege to study here. I also loved the campus and its history.
Plus, the city of Glasgow has such a vibrant arts & culture scene. It all came together.
Why Creative Writing?
I love writing. I have known since I was eight that I wanted to be a poet, and this was primarily because I didn’t learn to speak properly until I was around five due to health conditions, and poetry gave me a voice. I truly love how studying Creative Writing has allowed me to grow as a writer and an individual.
Shehzar is one of the University of Glasgow’s Future World Changers: students with ambitions to improve lives across the globe. Follow their journeys using #UofGFWC.