19 Year Old Spoken Word Poet Rabia Kapoor Believes, “It’s Your World To Conquer”

Posted: August 3, 2018

Even at 19, Rabia Kapoor has made a place for herself the hallowed space of poets, and keeping in sync with her generation, in spoken word poetry. Meet her at the #BangalorePoetryFestival.

Bengaluru Poetry Festival is a celebration of all things poetry. The third edition of Bengaluru Poetry Festival is on 4th and 5th of August 2018, hosted by Atta Galatta at The Leela Palace Bengaluru, and Women’s Web is proud to be a media partner.

If poetry makes your world go around, you should be there. More details here.

She is not one of those who would just get into a crowd and own it. She is one of those who would stay behind, maybe in a corner, try to remain as inconspicuous as possible, take in the environment around her, observe carefully, try rehearsing and getting accustomed and then once she is sure of herself she’d get on the stage and take over with her sheer honesty and articulation. Is she okay with this version of herself? Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t. But through her poems we know her to be someone who wants to do “Everything, everything.”

“I don’t really have anything to say that hasn’t been said before,
I don’t have any claims to make that haven’t been claimed before,
I don’t have any movements to organize that haven’t been moved before,
But I like to write.
And I like people to listen and I haven’t really been heard before.”

Her YouTube channel spill out videos of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Arctic Monkeys, The Rolling Stones and Bahamas. Her stand-ups reflect her love for literature, family, relationships, identities and The Beatles. Her blog describes her as a “Rainbow Zombie” and reflects on the sensitive, vulnerable, extremely affectionate side of Rabia Kapoor, a 19-yr old Spoken Word Poetry artist, who in a very short span of 2 yrs has managed to create a niche in the spoken word scene.

In an era where social media churns out one artist after another, building steady content and being candid and outspoken is a rarity often underrated. Millennials, it turns out, are proving to be a much bigger avalanche (than being mere ‘snowflakes’ as they are accused of being), by sometimes raising some really relevant social and political issues, and sometimes just by being their unguarded and blunt selves.

While her first poetry attempt was at the age of 10 at a poetry workshop, Rabia’s first ‘spoken’ word poetry stemmed out of her first thought on being asked to write something. She couldn’t. So she simply wrote about how she couldn’t. And thus was born The Introvert’s Banter, that went viral with thousands of likes and reacts from introverts and extroverts all over (even though she asks all the extroverts to go fuck themselves in it – because hey those loud, annoying people, who do not have any social anxiety and who strain the spotlight till it shines right on them, always keep talking over every shy, low-pitched person who might have very pertinent points and stories and anecdotes and can be as funny as anyone else, but cannot take ’em eyes off the floor).

In another stand up she is seen apologizing to her little brother for being a brattish elder sister and you won’t be able to hold yourself from sobbing when you realize it is probably just each of us she is talking about. Her poetry and blog posts imply she wants to deal with more mundane, hassled youth and adolescence than the ‘in’ social topics that she feels are sometimes used just to gain more likes and eyeballs. She vouches for honesty. She wants the artists of the world to be true to themselves. Art can never be politically correct. “The more honest it is to you, the deeper it will resonate with your audience.”

She is your regular teenager who loves social media because, “You get to put your work out there more easily, you get an immediate response, a fair amount of feedback, you get to experiment, form a community with like-minded people, keep building, keep creating, keep learning. It’s your world to conquer. It’s super cool.” Except for content being plagiarized she doesn’t see other cons of it, and prefers to make the most of every opportunity an open world is willing to offer her.

Candor is what Rabia advises her peers and fellow artists to put in their work. “I feel this way not only about poetry but about all writing, all art, in fact. I just want people to be honest about their work. Bring sincerity to every word they write, every gesture, every brush stroke. If you pair that with the ability to step (even by an inch) out of one’s own comfort zone, man, the whole world would change.” In an era that has seen a steep rise in depression, existential despair and nihilistic tendencies in the youngsters, Rabia talks about spoken word poetry as a medium to “let people know that they are not alone in the way they feel”. Being vulnerable, and letting others know that it is okay to be vulnerable, where one can talk about deeply personal things, is the best part of spoken word poetry for her.

On the day of the performance, I get very anxious and usually think of ways of backing out of the performance. But once I’m on stage, once I begin, everything usually falls into place”, chips in Rabia. What we love more about her is her complete disapproval of any question that doesn’t pertain to her work and spoken word. She might speak about her background that will help us understand her as an artist more, but she doesn’t entertain many personal questions. The level-headed Rabia is pretty confident about what she wants and doesn’t from life. She won’t talk about social issues unless she knows about them completely. She wouldn’t jump into the bandwagon just because something is politically correct. She declares that she would love to publish all kinds of books and write screenplays and plays as well someday, so she is trying to understand every aspect of the art, in whatever capacity she can, through her studies in English Literature.

About the Insta-poets like Rupi Kaur and Nikita Gill she displays nothing but a lot of respect – “For taking the medium the way they did and making such steady careers out of it. It has inspired a lot of people to write and it has been an entry point for a lot of people into poetry, the kind of people who wouldn’t have made the initiative to read poetry on their own.” These poets, she says, are inspiring an entire generation to seize the moment and grab the opportunity because with the kind of mediums now made available, the sky is the limit.

Who would Rabia be if not what she is right now? When asked, she says she’d be nothing else except exactly who she is right now – someone trying to be a better writer with each passing day.

Rabia comes out as quite a genuine, straightforward woman of strength. “I want to do everything, everything”, says she and we can’t help but smile affectionately at the words, used with such hope, as the bright-eyed and soft-pitched, shy but defiant, irresistibly endearing Rabia gets set to take on the world, one poetry at a time.

Images source: Rabia Kapoor

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  1. I fell in love with Rabia after listening to her ‘Introvert’s banter’. Wish I could see her perform live someday.

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