“Grand Slam Poetry Champion”, the TEDx video boasts, featuring a talented, youthful poet – Harry Baker. Spurting quirky jokes and rhyming lines on screen, Baker performs his famous and poignant piece of poetry “59”. In real life, Baker is not much different; last Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by a circle of inspired and enlightened students, he shared his experience with poetry through craft, quirk, and flair.
Describing poetry as a means to “be in touch with people all around the world”, Baker admits that to him, poetry is “an amazing, powerful thing”. Having gained a high ordeal of notoriety from his famous Ted-Talk on “a love poem for lonely prime numbers” – a mathematical love poem – he shared the joys and the sorrows that he encountered along the way of becoming a poet. A number of yearning fans attended an interview with him on the 14th of November, hosted by the Sha Tin College Media Team.
Having been a young writer (his first encounter with poetry starting from the mere age of 15), Baker claims that he was always inspired by poets who “gave you goosebumps”. During the short hour that he shared with STC students, he gave insight into a number of his works, including ‘The Sunshine Kid’, a poem that portrays the harsh reality of bullying in secondary school, and ‘Paper People’ – his award winning poem regarding modern politics through repeated word-play. Finally, he recited his recently made poem ‘Maybe’ which was written for his cousin, also a victim of the bullying culture. He shared that this up-and-coming poem is “more open, vulnerable, and uplifting for the reader” to which he further added, “I think it reciprocates well with people, especially people who get bullied and feel different.”
Baker’s love of poetry is, to him, “A great way of stepping back from the hectic lifestyle”. “It gives value to words and language, and lets you see the world differently”, he adds, alluding to the idea that all students have the ability to find who they truly are by following their passion. Despite having a dream of becoming a hip-hop star at the age of 13, Baker applied to major in Medicine in university, only to change courses later on to pursue Mathematics after his gap year. Baker eventually earned a degree in Mathematics, and mentioned the controversial comments that he received from his fans about his maths poems, ranging from examples like “I hated maths!” to “I don’t really poetry, but I really like you.”
Baker has an important message to all students: “empathy and kindness are very important. You can’t choose the life you’re born into. Success is being happy; being you. It’s about self-acceptance.”
Daniel Rothwell (13D1), Isabella Young (11D1), Jennifer Yu (13G2)