WATCH: La Shawna has gone R.O.G.U.E
Pain is what beautiful poetry is made of.
Author and performance poet, La Shawna Griffith has proven this to be true within the pages of her latest publication ‘R.O.G.U.E’. The title of the publication is an acronym for her journey in overcoming a number of personal struggles - Rising Over Grim Unfortunate Experiences.
The collection of 26 poems has already gained notoriety, having been dubbed by Amazon as the “hottest new release in Latin America and Caribbean poetry”.
The three-time author, journalist and activist sat with Loop to discuss what inspires her to tackle difficult topics such as abuse, sexual relationships and domestic violence within her work.
La Shawna describes the writing process for ‘R.O.G.U.E’ as a therapeutic experience, completed in a mere 16 hours.
“Each [poem] has a very personal connection to me because they are a lot of things people would have asked me about my first two books. Why am I so passionate about domestic violence… So I decided to let persons in.
It was a very therapeutic moment, some of the pieces I cried like a baby writing because it was hard to open myself up to public scrutiny. As an author, some of us tend to hide behind masks … I was scared to put myself out to the public.”
This fear of being judged by the public did not stop the bubbly soon-to-be 26-year-old from stepping forward with the project. In fact, she says she hopes ‘R.O.G.U.E’ can be an inspiration for anyone who feels as if they are stuck in a dark place.
“[With R.O.G.U.E] I feel as though I am reclaiming my voice and my power, not only as an author but also as a social activist and a female. Each and every one of us has an unfortunate experience that we went through but with R.O.G.U.E I want you to know that you can rise over it and use me as an inspiration. I’ve been bullied and went through a lot of depression and I am still standing.”
Just what can you expect to find between the pages of this poetry collection?
La Shawna revealed: “[The poems] are a bit conversational and controversial. There is ‘Sex on Bush Hill’ which looks at the way that prostitution has been seen as negative but really there are some benefits to it. ‘Pencil Sex’ has been ranked by most persons who read my book as their favourite. It is a double entendre - a play on words about my love for poetry and my love for pencils."
Her favourite in the collection, she notes, is the poem called ‘Crime and Criminals - Who is to Blame’, adding “it is a truthful piece that Bajans need to hear”.
The performance piece will be entered in the 2019 National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA).
Moving forward, La Shawna intends to do increased marketing to promote R.O.G.U.E and her other two collections, La Shawna Unlock the Door and La Shawna Release the Energy Within.