A Baker Street passerby likes the poem she commissioned from Zaynab Mohammed

Zaynab Mohammed, Baker Street’s busking poet

Inspire her, and Zaynab Mohammed will write a poem for you.

Zaynab Mohammed will write you a poem about anything you want, on the spot, on her manual typewriter, without hesitation. She is Baker Street’s busking poet, seated at a table on the sidewalk beside a sign that reads “Poet on Commission. Inspire me.”

She writes poems as she waits for someone to approach her. Then, for their donations, she will either give them one she has just written or she’ll write one to order.


“It is unique, it is different,” she says. “People don’t usually write you poems, maybe a lover or family member, but it is really rare.


“Poetry has always been there for me,” she says. “But the physical act of writing it just started a few years ago. It is a kind of dance, just the way you move and interact, that is what poetry is. Then writing it down is defining it or putting meaning to things, capturing moments that are felt and then gone.”


Asked about the experience of busking, Zaynab says, “It is stimulating and sometimes nerve-wracking and challenging.”


If it’s nerve-wracking, she doesn’t show it. She approaches her instant street poetry with an air of quiet confidence.


“For the most part people are really nice and if I am not in a good mood it puts me in a good mood because I am doing what I love doing and I am able to share it, right away, it is not in my notebook at home. My favourite thing in life is sharing.


As for her manual typewriter, “I love it. You can’t go back. You can’t make mistakes.”

Zaynab has lived in Nelson since October. She also performs her poetry at events like the poetry slam.


“Spoken word is bringing the poem to life, it takes its own form, and does its own thing. The poem comes through you and when you perform it, it has its own presence and its own energy, and it is magical. I feel like I disappear and the poem appears, doing what it wants to do. It is an awesome feeling.”


The Nelson Star commissioned a poem from Zaynab about the experience of being interviewed by a reporter. The poem is pictured below.


“I think it is awesome to remind each other about the things we easily forget,” she says. “This is one way of doing it, that I get to participate in.”

Just Posted

Castlegar daycare selected for univeral child care pilot program

MLA Katrine Conroy presents letter of acceptance to the program to the Children’s Centre at Selkirk College

Kootenay region posts 10-per-cent return rate on electoral reform ballots

As of Nov. 13, only 5.3 per cent of ballots had been returned province-wide

Talking transgender issues with Nelson advocate

Nov. 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance

Leafs Roundup: Nelson adds a win and a tie on two-game road trip

Nelson native Reid Vulcano scored in his KIJHL debut

Over 120 people to lend a hand at Community Connect

The annual event offers free services at Central School

VIDEO: Amazon to split second HQ between New York, Virginia

Official decision expected later Tuesday to end competition between North American cities to win bid and its promise of 50,000 jobs

Kuhnhackl scores 2 odd goals as Isles dump Canucks 5-2

Vancouver drops second game in two nights

Stink at B.C. school prompts complaints of headaches, nausea

Smell at Abbotsford school comes from unauthorized composting operation

Fear of constitutional crisis escalates in U.S.; Canadians can relate

Some say President Donald Trump is leading the U.S. towards a crisis

B.C.-based pot producer Tilray reports revenue surge, net loss

Company remains excited about ‘robust’ cannabis industry

Canada stands pat on Saudi arms sales, even after hearing Khashoggi tape

Khashoggi’s death at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul further strained Riyadh’s already difficult relationship with Ottawa

Feds pledge money for young scientists, but funding for in-house research slips

Canada’s spending on science is up almost 10 per cent since the Liberals took office, but spending on in-house research is actually down

Disabled boy has ‘forgiven’ bullies who walked on him in stream, mom says

A Cape Breton teen who has cerebral palsy was told to lie in a stream as other kids walked over him

Letters shed light on state of mind of B.C. mom accused of daughter’s murder

Trial of South Surrey mother Lisa Batstone begins in BC Supreme Court

Most Read