Kaozara Oyalowo

Kaozara is a poet based in Leicestershire. 


In May 2020, we interviewed Kaozara Oyalowo as part of our series ‘In Conversation With…’. Below is an overview of Kaozara’s interview. You can find the recording of the interview on our IGTV. Find us on Instagram at @junctionartsUK

Kaozara Oyalowo is a poet based in Leicestershire, her journey started in university. She joined a spoken word society and then the university slam team at University of Leeds. In 2018 Kaozara travelled to America to compete in a slam competition and represent the UK. Kaozara is a BBC Creative and has been commissioned to write poetry around names which is inspired by her Yoruba background. Having only graduated from university in 2019 her career is already off to a flying start.

Junction Arts have been working with Kaozara through a Tapton Lock writing commission. Kaozara will be working with BAME groups and looking broadly at environment as well as health and wellbeing.

Kaozara is a BBC Creative and has been commissioned to write poetry around names which is inspired by her Yoruba background, her own name and experience. Kaozara grew up in England and a lot of the time people find it difficult to say her name or don’t even make an effort to pronounce it (Kaozara pronounced cow-zara). When she got older, she began to write about how in her and other cultures names are so important and what it means to her.

Kaozara has spent time in Nigeria, Italy and England, she is Muslim and speaks other languages. This mix and her identity have really influenced her poetry and writing. One of her pieces ‘Mother Tongue’ is written in Yoruba and takes influence from ancestral songs.

Kaozara began writing at 14 and overtime came to enjoy writing poetry, it has become part of her and a community for her. It allows her to express herself in different ways which has been an evolution for her. Over time she has seen where spoken word and paper poetry can meet and are not separate.

Performance poetry has always been part of her work as this is what she came to know first. Kaozara says that she still gets nervous performing and this can feel more if the audience aren’t responsive. A lot of the time her nervous are excitement to be on stage and share her work.

There is a power to poetry and Kaozara believes poetry can change lives. There is always someone who will connect to the poem emotionally which can be really powerful.

Kaozara quoted her father “time doesn’t wait for any man” and if people want to begin writing to just do it, start and see where you go. Watch the full video for more advice.

You can see more interviews from the series by visiting the “In Conversation With…’ project page

Follow us on instagram @junctionartsUK

Follow us on instagram @junctionartsUK