In prison, Khiev had various of new experiments. Not just poetry, but also the many tattoo paintings on his body “represents the past”, Khiev says.
Khiev and Poetry
Khiev describes poetry as his ‘spoken art'. He says that poetry found him, instead of him finding poetry, while confinement. “It was as if I always belonged to poetry.”
For Khiev, poetry gave him an identity. He would always be questioning about himself until he met poetry. “It gave me a better understanding,” he says. “Who I am, where I came from, what I live for."
Many of his artworks display freedom, different cultural backgrounds, or generally describing his life.
During the interview
In this interview, Khiev had mentioned many times that poetry has influenced and changed him a lot. He says that he came to poetry when he was stuck in a solitary confinement, where he was locked up in a small room, alone. He was forced to confront himself, he says. “I had to ask myself, ‘Is this it?’. ‘Is this who I am?’. ‘Am I going to end my life in prison?’”
I would say that poetry is a language for Khiev. He sees poetry as if one way of connecting and communicating with people around the world, the ones who had similar experiences to Khiev, or the ones from diverse cultures and backgrounds. In one of his poem, “Why I Write”, he is speaking out to various people around the world. He is talking to his family, talking to his younger self, but I felt that he was trying to reach out to the people who are struggling, just like Khiev was.
After his performance, I felt that reading his poetry and watching him perform his own poetry gave people very different impressions. Performing, Khiev was almost dancing. He looked as if he was trying to emotionally connect with the audience, speaking from his heart to tell us something.
- Cheung, Helier. "Kosal Khiev's Journey from Prison to Poetry." BBC News. BBC, 10 Feb. 2014. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-24923096>.
- Khiev, Kosal. "Spoken Kosal." Spoken Kosal RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://spokenkosal.com/>.