Australian Luka Lesson uses poetry, hip-hop and rap to engage and “give voice to the voiceless” who belong to a disappearing language, a minority culture, or a disenfranchised part of the world. Here he is being interviewed at the Beijing International Literary Festival by CBC Radio host Eleanor Wachtel for her weekly program, Writers and Company, the April 8, 2012 edition.
This year’s festival theme was TRAVEL and VOICE, an ‘imaginative’ discussion of the writer’s role across language, culture and social class. Wachtel gives us a biographical synopsis of Luka in her Introduction, but it is 20 minutes into the 1 hour program before we hear Luka Lesson’s own voice.
Luka, a Greek Australian born 1983 in Brisbane, graduated from Monash University in Aboriginal Studies where he has also taught. His poetry is infused with details of his own life as ‘the outsider’, but he says that his biggest culture shock ever came from his experiences in the Northern Territory, where he says Aborigines live in the “Fourth World”. Co-founder of an oufit he calls “The Center for Poetics and Justice”, he conducts workshops for indigenous, Islander, African and refugee communities in Australia.