Ali Al Haj: The Poetic Lebanese-Australian Ninja Warrior
When he’s not writing and performing poetry, Ali Al Haj Hussein is training for one of the toughest obstacle courses on our screens: Ninja Warrior.
After watching the US and Japan Ninja Warrior series, Ali was drawn to the fact that it seemed to be like a “playground on steroids”, and began Ninja training with a friend.
“It’s been an enjoyable journey,” he said. “It is quite a supportive community… and everyone helps you out.”
As for finding his passion for poetry, Ali had attended the Bankstown Poetry Slam to watch one of his friends perform back in 2015, and six months later he was up on that very stage.
“I didn’t really like English in high school at all,” he said.
“I’m a very numbers oriented man, I do like my science and my maths so it was a surprise to everyone.”
With his Lebanese background influencing his work, Ali finds himself drawn to the rich history of past generations.
We all have our individual experiences living in Australia but our parents homes, our motherlands and our experiences there, is another dimension to our identity and I don’t think we should lose it.
Drawing inspiration from his own life, Ali says the message he’s trying to express through his poetry is constantly changing.
“I’m trying to make it my own personal experience and tell it my way,” he said.
“Not use someone else’s success as a template and copy their style because then it won’t sound genuine.”
While balancing his passion for poetry, motivation for training, and a full-time job, Ali says the key is to “stay consistent”, and to prioritise creative outlets at one time and not “burn the candle at both ends”.
And while there are no plans to take on poetry as a career, Ali says he’s enjoying it without the added stress or pressure.
“I’m just enjoying getting better at writing, at being more concise, at performing, at delivery,” he said.
“There are so many aspects of it, in becoming a better poet, it’s an aspect focused cyclical routine.”