DARK PAST

mailife - - Art -

By JOHN MITCHELL Pho­tos by IVAMERE ROKOVESA There was a time when lo­cal tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity, Amelia Rigsby, sailed in tur­bu­lent seas. She turned to the arts, find­ing refuge in the power of words and lov­ing the way they ex­uded mean­ing and feel­ing. She was swept off her feet and the love af­fair blos­somed. To­day, Amelia is a po­etry en­thu­si­ast who fre­quents Suva’s famed slam evenings, telling pow­er­ful sto­ries con­structed around her life jour­ney. Po­etry, read­ing and English were in­tro­duced to Amelia very early in life by her step mum, a univer­sity English lit­er­a­ture lec­turer by pro­fes­sion. “My dad worked abroad so my step mum was the one who really in­tro­duced me to books, plays and poems,” she said. “In Class Five I was read­ing The Colour Pur­ple... I’m ba­si­cally a book worm.” Amelia works full time at Film Fiji and co-hosts and pro­duces the Fiji Tele­vi­sion Lim­ited show, “Break­fast”. “I never started writ­ing poems se­ri­ously un­til a cou­ple of years ago. Friends would in­vite me to do it but I was like no… You see I was in­tro­duced to for­mal po­etry where we are sup­posed to have a cer­tain num­ber of lines and we are sup­posed to do and say things a cer­tain way. “One day I at­tended a po­etry slam and was really hooked be­cause it was dif­fer­ent from what I had grown up with. It was some­thing I could con­nect to. It gave me a lot of room and free­dom to ex­press my­self and it blew my mind away.” Since at­tend­ing that first po­etry slam some five years ago, Amelia has never looked back and at­tends most ses­sions in­clud­ing the lat­est one held in Oc­to­ber in Suva’s Traps Bar. Po­etry slams have a size­able fol­low­ing of in­tense fans who trail the events as they jour­ney around in the cap­i­tal. The beauty about the per­for­mances is they are un­pre­dictable. They can be ag­gres­sive and grotesque one minute then som­bre or hi­lar­i­ous the next. Amelia be­lieves po­etry can be ther­a­peu­tic if used cor­rectly. She talks about her ex­pe­ri­ence with de­pres­sion and her painful past, and how art of po­etry en­abled her to start talk­ing openly about her dis­tress­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. Dur­ing the last po­etry slam, she de­liv­ered a pow­er­ful recital of one of her lat­est work ti­tled “You Have Value”, a poem that en­cap­su­lates the sto­ries of a few peo­ple close to her heart and spans many years and di­verse events. “A cou­ple of years ago I moved to Nadi af­ter a breakup with my part­ner with whom I had two chil­dren. It was a tough pe­riod for me. I was away from the sup­port group I was used to. I met a cou­ple of peo­ple who in­flu­enced the writ­ing of the poem,” Amelia said. “When I first wrote You Have Value I wasn’t with my chil­dren, my part­ner, my fam­ily and friends. I felt low and wanted to start over again. When you are in that sit­u­a­tion

Pas­sion…..Amelia Rigsby writes a poem at De Vos On The Park, Suva

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