Little Boy Blue by Jamal Mehmood
Poetry Rivals 2015 Winner
Little Boy Blue - taking its name from the Nina Simone song/album is a debut collection of poetry that is both personal and political, and throughout the book, both. The musical reference to Nina is just one example of many, with poems peppered with musical references that will be apparent to many readers. Themes in the collection range from family, identity, nostalgia, the current state of the world and where the writer fits within it as a young British, Pakistani Muslim. The book begins with family, nostalgia and personal issues and then blends into commentary on social pain, and towards the end of the book, combines the two in the title poem. Stylistically there is a mixture of pieces. It is clear some are written for the stage, and others work just as well on the page. There is rhyme, abstraction, narratives and humour contained within this collection which gives it an eclectic feel when one reaches the end. Just like the song.
Jamal Mehmood is a writer born and raised in Kent, England. He was the school Poet Laureate and has been writing for 6 years. He studied Economics at the University of Southampton, and now works in London. As well as poetry, he also writes articles and is working on two film projects, one a documentary on immigration, and one a feature film. He has also worked for human rights charity Restless Beings for 5 years and continues in his role in events and the arts.