Reading and writing poetry is a great way to express thoughts and emotions through flowing words, says Fiji National University (FNU) College of Humanities and Education (CHE) Dean, Professor Unaisi Nabobo-Baba. 

Professor Nabobo-Baba made these comments during the World Poetry Day celebrations held at FNU, Natabua Campus, last Friday.

According to Professor Nabobo-Baba, Poetry helps people understand and appreciate the world around them by inspiring everyone to connect and find meanings through their own experiences. 

“Poetry helps by teaching in rhythm, stringing words together with a beat helps cognitive understanding of literature and where they fit. Poetry teaches us how to live creatively,” Professor Nabobo-Baba explained. 

“Researchers have recently studied precisely how it is that poetry affects us. They’ve found that it triggers our emotions, strengthens our brains, and gives us space for self-reflection. It turns out our brains process poetry and music similarly,” she added.

The senior academic said the College was thrilled to partner with the Department of Library Services to honour local and international poets’ works. Professor Nabobo-Baba said poets’ works had created a ‘snowball impact as they have encouraged people to read, write, teach, and publish poetry, contributing to cultural diversity in human society affirmation. 

A poet herself, Professor Nabobo-Baba encourages everyone to pen their thoughts into vibrant words. She urged the CHE and FNU leaders present at the celebrations to encourage more writing, oratory and speech making activities to boost poetry and the “spoken word”. 

“When we write poetry, we record histories, emotions, events, cultures, happiness and sadness. We record minor details and important or significant events of our times. Poems can be very individual but can also be about reflecting on community, country and world events,” she said. 

The Dean recited three poems by her favourite poets, “You the Choice of My Parents”, by Professor Konai Helu Thaman, “We are therefore we don’t have” by Upolu Luma Va’ai and “Weaving” by Dr Cresantia Frances Koya-Vaka’uta. 

During the celebration, poets Bhagwanji Bhindi, Mercy Gogoi, Professor Ann Armstrong and Vidya Singh recited their writings to students and audience at FNU’s Nawere-Levu lecture theatre. Students from the School of Communication, Language and Literature (SCLL) astonished the audience with their poem “Moce Mr Samuela Tuinabua”, paying tribute to one of the longest-serving members of FNU, who passed away last year. 

The FNU student body also honoured the day by sharing their views on what poetry means to them in the traditional dance style form of a ‘meke’ (traditional Fijian dance).

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