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26-year-old Melissa Asregadoo-Rose, a high school teacher attached to the Berbice Educational Institute (BEI), recently discovered her passion for poetry and writing. She said, “Poetry or anything English related was placed somewhere on the very last shelf of my cupboard of interests. They were like the books I never really read but still held onto just because.”
Melissa noted that her passion for writing was discovered at her church service. She believes poetry is a spiritual calling because she first discovered her knack for writing poems in church.
She added, “I was given the opportunity to speak on a specific topic in church and I remembered thinking that I should be different and creative for my introduction. Something that would help me to communicate my message well with the audience. And that was when I sought the very last shelf of interests, dusted off the book-marked poetry and I wrote a beautiful poem. It was then that I felt the spark and that ignited my love for poetry.”
Melissa fell in love with writing. Writing poems eventually became fun for her. When she writes poems, she can boldly speak using a variety of interesting language techniques. She highlighted that it is truly fascinating to see how one can play with words to make a message interesting so that others listen to the message.
She is a wife and a mother to a beautiful baby girl. Melissa joined the teaching profession at the age of 17, after completing her secondary education at President’s College. While at the Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE), she majored in Mathematics. Currently, she is a student of the University of Guyana and a proud Christian hailing from East Canje Berbice (Region 6).
Over the last 3 years she has written poems for various small events. These poems were either recited by me or others. “I started researching tips for writing spoken word poetry because that was the level I wanted to attain as a writer. I became hooked on this unique style of poetry,” she mentioned.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic Melissa was inspired to write a few spoken word pieces, some of which were recorded and submitted as projects to GirlzFTW. GirlzFTWT is an international platform in which women use their talents to address challenges faced by the female population.
Additionally, she submitted pieces for various poetry competitions online.
Being a poet is not her full-time job, but it has been something she has grown to enjoy. She mentioned, “Poetry has not been a part of my daily to do list of activities. I have only written when inspired and also for various projects. There were instances where I had to write poems amidst work and school tasks. In those times I have had to intentionally set specific times to work on the poems. Other times, I would write during work hours when I have some free time.”
One of her major challenges is facing writer’s block, however in those times she is reminded to pray, relax and just write. She stated, “I try my utmost to pray every time before I write. This has always worked for me. Additionally, the people who are closest to me would encourage me or even suggest an idea or two. This would usually be the ‘jumpstart’ I need.”
In the poetry arena, she has not accomplished much, owing to the fact that she has not been writing as much as she should. One of Melissa’s proud moments was winning the Spoken Word poetry competition for ‘The Guyana Mangrove Restoration Project.’ In addition to that, she was selected as a performer twice for the GirlzFTW talent shows online and that has been a blessing and motivation for her.
In the future, Melissa intends to make poetry a part of her daily “to do list”, as she aims to write more poetry and better her craft. In addition to that, she aspires to be a published author/ poet, where she intends to compile a book of poetry.
When asked for advice, she stressed, “Do not ‘go slow’ when it comes to your gift of poetry or arts. Within one year, you can touch and change the lives of many through the gift of poetry or art. Lose yourself in your work positively. Do not forget about the world around you because they are the ones who need to hear the message in your poems or art.”