Parks inspire poetry for N19’s polymath Shofi

Shofi Ahmed is a poet from Upper Tollington, seen here reading from one of his poetry books. Picture

Shofi Ahmed is a poet from Upper Tollington, seen here reading from one of his poetry books. Picture: Shofi Ahmed - Credit: Archant

A Highbury writer has “smashed barriers” to become the best read artist on an online poetry site.

Shofi Ahmed, 47, got his first poem published in the North London University student magazine in 1995 – he was just 17 and says the story was picked up in the Gazette.

“Life is a journey to an unknown infinity,” said Shofi. “Poetry is an effort to eloquently explore the encounters and experiences that happen along the way. The thing that drives us is to find meaning and poetry is a way of writing about humanity.”

Shofi, of Cornwallis Road, thinks back fondly to when he first got published in this paper.

The poet, who was then studying computer sciences, said: “It was so exciting and felt like it was ushering in good things for the future. Everything changed because when I was small I never thought about being creative.

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“I’m now the top poet in Hello Poetry – an online site with users from all over the world – and my poems have been read over a million times.”

Shofi says he’s also won a science writing award from the Daily Telegraph, where he explored how time might work differently in another solar system.

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The poet, who has also been published in the Asian Times, now has four children. He told the Gazette the green spaces and diversity of Islington inspire his free-flowing stanzas.

“I used to walk around Highbury Park when I needed ideas,” he said. “There is a poem called London Summer, which has been read 24,000 and is one of the most popular pieces on Hello Poetry and I wrote it in that Islington park.”

Shofi, who also does translation and research work to pay the bills, has over 100 poems on his online profile and has three collections of poetry available on Amazon.

Asked what he likes best about the borough, Shofi said: “Islington is a cosmopolitan place where people from all walks of life and different cultures mingle and share this beautiful area.

“It’s impressive and there is so much we can share, which is quite inspiring.

“The diversity in Islington is enormous and should be celebrated.”

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