Familiar Strangers: A Poem by ‘Femi Abidogun

07 Sep 2015, by cp14603 in News

Cover photoWe held a really stimulating and enjoyable series of creative writing workshops at the Sandwell Arts Cafe in May this year, aimed at those writing and living between languages and cultures. Over the coming months we’re pleased to be able to share some of the writing from those who took part in the workshop. To begin, ‘Femi Abidogun has kindly shared his poem ‘Familiar Strangers’ which came out of the first workshop in the series.

The theme for this first workshops was Friendships, with the writer Shirin Ramzanali Fazel leading the conversation as we reflected on those relationships formed across and between languages and cultures. The workshop drew on those feelings of sharedness in experience and memory built across immediately heard or visible differences. Femi2

‘Femi’s poem below effectively captures the sense of that creative space between difference and familiarity, with the words of a seemingly unfamiliar language evoking memories from his own past. ‘Femi and the team would love to read your own thoughts and reflections on the poem and theme (or even some of your own writing!) so please do join the conversation in the comments below.




 I watch

This patch

With bated breath

Wondering to what length

Or breadth

Their queer,

Yet familiar stories

Told in exotic tones

Would transport me to;

For the few lines

I’ve so far heard

Are heading me back

In the path

Of a much-cherished past

To relieve memories

Of a never-to-be forgotten heritage.


Biography: Olufemi (‘Femi) Abidogun lives with his family in Harborne, Birmingham and was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. He is a member of a number of literary groups, including the Birmingham-based Writers Without Borders. He has published two collections of his poems with photos above from his recent book launch at Harborne Library in July.



  • Georgia Wall

    Thanks for sharing this, and for the stimulating discussion at the workshop itself! It’s made me think a lot about the idea of heritage…