WbyW Reflections: Re-rooting through Poetry with Belinda Zhawi

By Makeda Krish (Word by Word member)

Our September workshop was ran by Zimbabwean-born, London-based writer, sound artist and educator Belinda Zhawi, otherwise know as MA.MOYO.

This was our first workshop in our other partner venue, Delina Kitchen, a beautiful Ethiopian cafe/event space set within a broad exposed brick arch in the heart of the usually bustling Shepherd’s Bush Market.

On the day of the workshop the market was closed leaving us only with the sounds of Ethiojazz, music chosen by Nazareth the lovely owner of Delina and the smell of the coffee she roasted as the workshop took place.

Over the course of our two hours with Belinda, we explored the works of poets such as Yousef Komunyakaa, noting the way their words were structured, how they played with language to make it wholly theirs. We then took time to write our own poems, influenced by the pieces we had read.

Belinda held the space in such a open and caring way, when it came to sharing what we had written, any feelings of doubt soon dissipated as everyone listened with focus and appreciation.

The only pause in the workshop came when the platters of vegan and vegetarian food prepared by Nazareth arrived. This gave us a nice opportunity to share time in a different way, and to enjoy the amazing selection of savoury and sweet snacks.

We left knowing each other and ourselves, a little better.


There are 8 more workshops to go in the Word By Word Presents series, led by a range of incredible professional writers.

No prior experience necessary. We are particularly welcoming people of colour, LGBTQ+ folk and other marginalised voices.

Tickets for our next workshop, Searching History, Building Futures with Varaidzo will take place on Sunday 10 October at Delina Kitchen (Shepherd’s Bush).

Don’t forget to spread the word with anyone you know who might benefit from these workshops, we want to welcome as many people as possible to have a go.

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