Poet as Superhero: Maged Zaher

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Welcome to City Superheroes, a regular column that highlights the powerful figures walking among us with the help of a (usually local) illustrator. This week’s pairing: poet Maged Zaher and visual artist Kyle Bolton.


Moniker: Boom Line

Given Name: Maged Zaher

Other Aliases: Magood, Ple

Superpowers: Vocal distortion, Truecolor vision

First Appearance: August 2000 at Café Allegro for an open mic reading

Local Haunts: Café Allegro, Magus Books, Half Price Books, Flying Apron, Fremont Coffee Company

Archenemies: Bad literature

Even Heroes Have Heroes: Lissa Wolsak, Antonio Gramsci, Paul Celan, Pam Brown

Origin Story: Two, seven-year periods shaped Cairo-born Maged’s development as a thinker and his rise to fully-formed hero. From the age of 16 through 23, he lived a self-described “sheltered” life, full of books. Day after day, his eyes took in sentences, pages and narratives, absorbing Arabic-translated poetry and philosophy.

Maged later moved to the United States to study for a PhD in civil engineering, which he did not complete. Then, in 2000 — thankfully for us — he moved to Seattle and began the second, seven-year period. From 2000 to 2007, he began to exist more outside the text, spending time with friends in bars and coffee shops. It was then Maged started to fully understand the messages of the books he’d read as a youth, grasping more of the nuanced connections between human interaction and art.

Upon establishing himself as one of Seattle’s premier poets and readers, Maged is known as an acutely passionate voice and an impeccable judge of character and spirit.

His Philosophy: “Edit out unnecessary material. Edit out any explanations in a poem.”

“Collaborate. Humanity is faulty but it’s all we have.”

“People are mostly similar, they just need recognition and kindness.”

What’s Next: His book, The Consequences of My Body (Nightboat Books), is expected in 2016.

About the Illustrator: Kyle Bolton has been drawing since age four. A graduate of the Art Institute of Seattle, he has worked for a variety of game companies creating 2D and 3D animations. He currently draws and lives in West Seattle with his wife Jamie, and their dogs, Copper and Zeus.

To see all our City Superhero series, go here.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Jake Uitti

Jake Uitti

Jake Uitti is the co-founder and Managing Editor of The Monarch Review. He plays in the band, The Great Um, and works at The Pub at Third Place.