Poet is pulling his own strings

Spoken word artist Abdul Hammoud with his notebook. 155211 Picture: GARY SISSONS


Dandenong’s Abdul Hammoud has a story to share.
“I perform spoken word, which is kind of like hip hop meets classical poetry,” he said.
“I was one of the kids in class who was bullied. I took to writing raps – bad ones!
“As I grew up a friend of mine showed me a spoken word video on YouTube and I said ‘this is awesome, I think I can do this’.”
Mr Hammoud performed for the first time at age 18 and “it’s terrifying, it was horrible” but he’s learnt to embrace the fear.
“I try to remind myself why I’m there,” he said.
“I have a story. I have my experiences that I want to share.
“I find comfort in my writing. I find comfort in showing other people how to write.”
The 24-year-old will perform and teach in Dandenong on Saturday 18 June as part of the Emerging Writers’ Festival’s first visit to Greater Dandenong.
Mr Hammoud will help budding writers to get a start at the Emerging Writers Intensive at Dandenong Library from 11am to 2pm.
He’ll take to the stage for Off the Map and Into the Stars at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

Watch Abdul Hammoud perform.


“I’m fairly informal about it and that’s why I like teaching it,” he said.
“It’s more about getting them to open up and be artistic in the first place.”
Mr Hammoud wrote one of his favourite pieces about three years ago while he was on tour in the US.
“It was the first time I’d been away from my family for that long,” he said.
“I forgot what a home-cooked meal tasted like. I forgot what it’s like to sit down and chat with my dad.
“It’s about who my mother is to me and who my father is to me. Who they are and how they made me.
“I work on things when they come to me – usually at 3am.
“In most cases a piece will take maybe an hour to write but it will take three to six months of editing and trialling and fixing and rebuilding and scrapping and starting again.”
He’s working in retail in Cranbourne but hopes to make a career from his craft.
“If Jim Henson can build a career out of playing with puppets… then there’s no reason why a poet can’t make a living out of writing poetry,” he said.
“It’s about my own tenacity and my own hard work and what I put into it.”
The Emerging Writers’ Festival celebrates creativity and innovation, nurtures new talent and provides a place for diverse voices.
Other Greater Dandenong events include a comic book and graphic novel workshop from noon to 1.30pm at Springvale Library, and a look at podcasting at Dandenong Library from 3pm to 5pm.
The Emerging Writers’ Festival runs from Tuesday 14 to Friday 24 June.
All events are free but bookings are essential. Visit emergingwritersfestival.org.au.