Arts & Culture

From pain to poetry

By Aaliyah Cunningham
Observer Writer

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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Inspired by the likes of Maya Angelou and Louise Bennett, 22-year-old Latifa James has turned her pain into poetry.

Her début anthology titled Colourful Conversations and Thought filled Reality is set to be released this Tuesday.

Hailing from Moyhall in rural St James, she has drawn on the struggles and hardships she faced in her formative years as inspiration for her work.

“My childhood as far as I can remember was a lovely mixture of intrigue, challenges and the beginning of self-discovery,” she said.

“I can say that I have had my share of family issues and struggles with self-esteem growing up, I struggled to see my potential and was adversely affected by circumstances that I wished had not been my fate. I can relate to the pain of a childhood that one had to just grow up,” James continued.

As she grappled with the realities of her young life, James decided to release her emotions on paper.

“I found that I could turn my experiences, emotions and imagination into a captivating image,” she said. “I have been spending my life working on being the best version of myself and overcoming the less than merciful strides of life, but my challenges became my pillars of strength and my reason for becoming a writer,” she furthered.

Her journey with poetry began when she entered the fourth grade and her teachers recognised her gift. According to James, they encouraged her to hone her craft and take pride in her passion.

“ I was told to do an anthology in grade 4. I sat down and wrote every single poem!” she said. “ I do mostly free verse poetry because it allows me to play with the patterns of my poems with no limitations. It takes you through the experience and even the moods and personality of the persona. OveralI I can write just about anything. I am considering writing novels, inspirational books and possibly doing screenwriting in the near future,” she continued.

Without giving away too much, she hinted at what readers should expect from her 12-poem collection.

“It has the dimensions of thought; all the poems are under one theme. They relate to thoughts and feelings experienced by us whether we express them or not. Each is not sectionalised according to themes for the purpose of aligning with the title which speaks of the pondering on human existence, love and even poverty and the list goes on,” she said.

James, a past student of Montego Bay High School for Girls is currently a final-year student of the Sam Sharpe Teachers' College completing a bachelor's degree in counselling.

The collection is being published by StreamBeat Entertainment and will be available as an e-book on Amazon and Kindle.


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