“Little Kings” makes it debut

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Peter Kahn

Kahn with his new book, Little Kings

English teacher and Spoken Word sponsor Peter Kahn has finally stepped into the spotlight himself. Aside from when he is introducing the poets on stage, Kahn spends most of his time in a classroom with students helping them work on their poems.
After 26 years of siming the spotlight for his students, Kahn has finally stepped into the spotlight himself. He has released his new book “Little Kings” “Is largely autobiographical and hits on many issues important to my life, but it’s certainly not a complete version of my life. It’s got important snippets,” says Kahn.
Although this book is about his life, he makes sure to still give credit where it’s due. He writes “Dedicated to “Mom, Dad, Grandma Liz, Papa Haris, Uncle Al, Neon street Center for Youth, Malika’s Kitchen & Spoken Word Club. This book does not exist without you”
The book of 52 poems written over the past 20 years was launched by publisher Nine Arches Press in June where some 300 people attended the launch from all over the world.
Khan writes about many subjects including “personal narrative poems, a lot about my childhood, my family, some failed relationships, being a teacher, being a social worker.”
So why is the book titled “Little Kings”? Named after his third poem in the book, it is a reflection of his struggles in eighth grade. “I wanted to capture the (false) bravado of childhood,” says Kahn. “We tried to show off how tough we were to one another, but when faced with anything truly tough, we became the kids we really were,” says Kahn.
When asked what his favorite poems of the book were he said “Probably two of them: One, “…Till It’s Gone” in that it addresses institutional racism and the huge disparity in the legal system that so clearly discriminates against people of color. Two, “On Top of the Monte Carlo” in that it addresses the anti-semitism that forced my grandparents to flee Germany and that is always lurking and threatening further violence.”
Kahn explained why he wrote the poem; “My grandparents fled Germany in the mid 1930s because of Hitler. They went to Brazil and then eventually New York. My grandpa’s younger brothers, my great uncles, they talked a lot about it. So I learned a lot about my family history through them, and the insanity of it all. And to know that I was just a couple generations removed from that has always made me think. So I wanted to write some poems that kept the family name alive. As well as, you know, you still have Holocaust deniers, and I think they’ll become more prevalant as Holocaust survivors are fewer and fewer. I have some obligation I think, to put those poems down on the page”
“…Till It’s Gone,” Kahn says, is about “a kid from one of my case loads… was convicted of murder, and it was in a year where there were 920 murders in Chicago. And to be on the other side of it, to know the person who killed someone and to see how he was mistreated in the justice system because he was a young black man… and how that opened my eyes to some of the injustices.”
You can order the book at this website: https://ninearchespress.com/shop.html#!/Little-Kings-Peter-Kahn/p/199128491/category=0

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