Exhibitionists·Art Kids

This 13-year-old poet penned a heartfelt response to a violent world

Gulmehek Khan published her first book at 11 — and in her new works, she's tackling some difficult themes.

Gulmehek Khan published her first book at 11 — and in her new works, she's tackling some difficult themes

13-year-old poet Gulmehek Khan. (CBC Arts)

When Gulmehek Khan was just seven years old, she wrote a few lines of poetry to get out of a bit of trouble she was in with her mother. It worked. And that first moment propelled her to keep writing — all the way to becoming a published poet at the age of 11.

Now 13 years old, Khan is still writing poetry. It's her hobby and her passion. And in addition to her greatest poetic achievement so far — publishing her book Flowers — she recently wrote a powerful new poem. It's called "Killing Between Peace" and, as you'll see in this video (part of the Art Kids series), it's a powerful and heartfelt response to the violence Khan has repeatedly seen in the headlines.

Art Kids: Gulmehek Khan

5 years ago
Duration 3:51
Gulmehek Khan published her first book of poetry by age 11

Khan's approach to writing poetry comes not just from intuition but careful planning and research. The young artist writes a lot on her iPad, recording her day-to-day observations and then works through each poem, "rhyme out of rhyme." She likes to think of it "as a game...like chess. You need to think about all the aspects when you do it. So you think about all the possibilities."

The next project on the horizon for her is a poetry animation series called "Furball the Tiger" that she's writing for TV. She explains that it's "about a tiger called Furball who always has fun with his friends and he learns life lessons every day...It's for kids of all ages because it's funny for the older kids and quite cute for the younger kids." Khan's dedication to her craft — and her success — comes largely from the support of friends and family, particularly her mother who is "very inspiring" and her father who is "like a best friend."

Gulmehek Khan works on her poetry. (CBC Arts)

In January 2-19, Gulmehek was part of the Global Goals World Cup UAE as an ambassador for promoting the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Special thanks to Motivate Publishing, Ontario Racquet Club and Mississauga Central Library.

Art Kids is a CBC Arts series that travels the country to find the next generation of groundbreaking creators in arts from painting, to dance, to poetry. Their accomplishments will amaze you — and might make you feel a little bad about yourself. But that's okay.

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.


Priscilla Galvez is a Toronto-based Producer and Director. Most recently, she produced the BravoFACT short film The Emissary and is currently in post-production on a sci-fi action short The Drop In for Bell Media. Priscilla is in development on the web-series Off Kilter with director Alejandro Alvarez Cadilla as well as directing and co-writing the short film Wolf Alice, based on the short story by Angela Carter. Jeff Pavlopoulos is a Toronto-based writer, director and cinematographer striving to encounter the unfamiliar in the everyday. He is currently developing a short series, Secret Chiefs, about the invisible ties that bind us to one another, and the hidden, sometimes dangerous world that exists all around us.