In our final post for Poetry Week, we interview Ottawa’s own Kim Nguyen aka King Kimbit who performed at VERSeFEST this weekend.
As a testament to the power — and reach — of spoken word, Kim Nguyen, 22, stands less than five-feet tall yet speaks with award-winning conviction.
“You wanna know how to rhyme you better learn how to add. It’s mathematics,” she laughs while reciting lyrics by Mos Def as an example of the hip hop and rap from which she draws inspiration.
Numbers, as it turns out, have a far greater meaning for Nguyen. In addition to building a portfolio of poetry and music, she’s well on her way to completing a mathematics degree with a minor in Spanish at Carleton University.
“I feel like math is the purest thing,” she says. “There’s no ambiguity.”
Demonstrating that she’s balancing more than equations at school, Nguyen, who also goes by the name King Kimbit, won first place in the spoken word category of a writing competition at her university this year. The poem is called Perspective and it’s based on her upbringing.
“I was raised by a single mom and the poem is from my Dad’s perspective,” she says. “I think it helps to try and see things from his perspective and it gives more peace within yourself, to try and see it from his perspective.”
Hidden behind dark sunglasses and sitting comfortably in a black Bone Thugs-n-H armony jacket, she explains that her inspiration is also drawn from life experiences with a primary focus on injustices.
“I like to put a voice on it,” she explains. “I think it’s important to talk about things that matter.”
Nguyen recalls some of her volunteer experiences, including a spring break trip to Vancouver’s east side.
“I’ve written about it. It’s about how people treat addicts like throw-away people. Just because it’s happening to someone else doesn’t mean it’s a completely separate entity,” she says.
“You shouldn’t treat people like they’re less than you. You have no idea what people have gone through.”