(Adam Cheung & Polly Ho)
Shahilla lived in Africa as a young child before migrating to Canada and then eventually moving to Hong Kong. We began our discussion by talking about the meaning of home and identity, themes that linger in her poetry.
Shahilla has always had an interest in poetry and literature and studied under renowned writers such as Seamus Heaney, which fueled her passion. Her poems are inspired by stories and the need to tell stories.
Loss is another significant theme in her work. Her very personal poems highlight that loss sticks and constantly returns in life and in memory. Through it somehow we come to new insights, and this process of rediscovery is a way of moving forward.
As a lawyer, Shahilla has learned to be precise with words, but the writing is obviously of a different nature. Poetry speaks of the heart and soul. So it is, unsurprisingly, a natural medium of expression for Shahilla. What Shahilla shared with us was not only the process of writing poetry, but the unpredictable journey of living life.