Ria Masae is studying towards her Bachelor of Creative Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology after attaining a BA from the University of Auckland. She is specialising in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in Snorkel, Ika, Landfall, Blackmail Press and Otoliths. In 2015 Ria won the New Voices: Emerging Poets Competition, and was thrilled to see a collection of her texts come to life in a brilliant performance called, ‘MAKAI – Black Sand: Ocean Bones’. In 2016 she won the Cooney Insurance Short Story Competition, and her poetry was translated into Spanish on the Circulo De Poesia website. She’s a proud member of the South Auckland Poets Collective who facilitate poetry workshops and events in the community.
Most of these poems were specifically written to be performed at poetry slams and open mic events. ‘Identical Strangers’ was written for a graded class assessment under Robert Sullivan, in which students had to perform a poem at a SUP (Stand Up Poetry) open mic night. It was my first taste of performance poetry. ‘Concrete Nothings’ is my take on the destructive gambling addictions that exist behind the alluring ruse of ‘jackpot’ enterprises. The idea came to me when observing the Sky Tower while waiting for a bus in Auckland CBD. Both ‘Identical Strangers’ and ‘Bostal Debress’ open up the conversation about Post Natal Depression. My aim here is to spread awareness and encourage empathy among those who have never experienced PND. For those who have, you are not alone. ‘Party Girls Aren’t Supposed to Hurt’ performs a similar function. ‘Native Rivalry’ won the New Voices: Emerging Poets Competition in 2015. It blends real-life occurrences with observations of a world and my place in it. This poem is dedicated to my late grandmother, Se’ela. It’s what I wish I was able to explain to her before she passed away.