Interviews

‘Poetry is a Journey Without an End’

English poet Jim Khan has always had a passion for writing. ‘Growing up in a disadvantaged environment meant the only safe place was in my own head and the local library,’ the 41-year-old Nottingham-based author, whose everyday life is very much like Sisyphus rolling his boulder up the mountain only to have it fall back onto his head again, says, beginning his interaction with The Literary Juggernaut

He emphasizes that writing is primarily a therapy that helps him cope with the stresses of neurodevelopmental and personality disorders. ‘However, I opted to publish a book of poetry to raise money for a local charity, having experienced first-hand the effects of homelessness and addiction,’ explains Jim, who has had no real formal qualifications. He, nonetheless, advocates in a legal capacity for those who find themselves unable to afford legal advice and representation. ‘I am currently completing the last stages of my LLB degree. I hope to complete my postgraduate degree in civil law with a particular focus on human rights and family matters,’ he shares with us.

Poet Jim Khan with one of his children

 SPECIAL TO THE JUGGERNAUT

Stavyah Vatsarah: What inspires you to write poetry?

Jim Khan: I have always been inspired by a general love for literature. As a sufferer of Tourette’s Syndrome, among other things, I sought to communicate more effectively, and the written word has been more preferable than the spoken word in getting my points across effectively. 

Stavyah Vatsarah: Are there poets from whom you draw inspiration? 

Jim Khan: It would be far too difficult to list my favorite novelists and poets as there are so many. But I should put Dante Alighieri at the very top given his effect on me through the Divine Comedy, one of the very first epic poems I read (translated, of course) as a child. Although I didn’t understand the political implications too well, the mythology, history, and the ethical journey through Hell, Purgatory, and eventually Paradise, left a lasting impression.

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Stavyah Vatsarah: Fascinating, to say the least. Nonetheless, when do you generally write? Do you follow a schedule, or do you write when you have an urge to pen down your thoughts? 

Jim Khan: I usually write at night, in silence and alone. I cannot have music or distractions as I find they interfere too much with my thought processes. It is difficult to find time as I am a father of five children and also have to manage the routines of my two disabled children as well as my own; but when they are tucked up in bed and I find the time to relax, it is often by reading or writing poetry and prose. 

Stavyah Vatsarah: Was becoming a poet a conscious decision? 

Jim Khan: It was never a conscious decision, and I don’t even know if I am a poet. I’m just a guy who likes to write his thoughts in what appears to be an engaging way. 

Stavyah Vatsarah: That’s quite a revelation, I must say! Might I, nevertheless, ask how you juggle writing and other tasks? What are your hobbies and interests besides writing? 

Jim Khan: My main interest aside from law and literature is studying aspects of history, religion, philosophy, psychology, and sociology. I find our human race a fascinating anomaly, and how can one ever claim to be bored when we have so many walking case studies around us? After living the latter half of my life as an addict, I consider myself blessed to be free of ill health as a consequence and now dedicate a lot of time to health and fitness. 

‘I find our human race a fascinating anomaly, and how can one ever claim to be bored when we have so many walking case studies around us?’

JIM KHAN

Stavyah Vatsarah: I suppose you are an inspiration to many. Tell us a bit about your works in progress. Also, do you plan on becoming a full-fledged poet? 

Jim Khan: I wouldn’t know what a fully-fledged poet is, but I continue to write as it pleases me to do so. I am presently editing a book of melancholic poetry and a book of tribute poems based on the classical works of famous poets such as Housman, Wordsworth, Blake, Whitman, and Shakespeare. 

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Stavyah Vatsarah: Is there something you would like to tell the poets who lose motivation if a few of their works don’t do well? 

Jim Khan: I would tell them that the only opinion that counts is their own, and if their work pleases them, it is a success. Poetry, like all art, is very subjective. So, there will always be those that are not interested just as much as there are those that find interest within others’ words. Don’t lose faith in your ability to express yourself creatively, for poetry is a journey, and it has no end, only a beginning. 

‘Don’t lose faith in your ability to express yourself creatively, for poetry is a journey, and it has no end, only a beginning.’

JIM KHAN

Stavyah Vatsarah: Last, but not least, if there’s one thing that you would like to change in this world, what would that be? 

Jim Khan: I would like to change the way people judge others based solely on their circumstances, presentation, and material worth. People are not defined by their mistakes, their disabilities, and their possessions but by their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. We should merit people on what they can do and what they seek to achieve rather than what they can’t do and what they do not own. Besides, I would like to say that life isn’t a race to see how much money and material gain one can amass before death comes a-knocking. It counts for nothing. What matters is the legacy you leave, the footprints you make, and whether you can do something extraordinary for your family and fellowmen. The real currency is in love and tolerance, in the embrace of an old friend, the kiss of an empathetic lover, or the smile of a grateful child. Don’t waste your life chasing things that won’t change anything but your own life; chase those that will change the lives of others that you care about. Don’t hate society; make it better.

‘The real currency is in love and tolerance, in the embrace of an old friend, the kiss of an empathetic lover, or the smile of a grateful child. Don’t waste your life chasing things that won’t change anything but your own life; chase those that will change the lives of others that you care about. Don’t hate society; make it better.’

JIM KHAN

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4 replies »

  1. I find great simplicity in Jim Khan. Thanks for the interaction through which lot can be learnt.

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