Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Love poems anyone?

Valentine's day is just around the corner and love is in the air. I haven't written a love poem in a while but now I'm being encouraged to do so because the National Youth Council of Dominica and Free Expressions Poetry Company are launching a poetry competition and show dubbed "The Next Great Love Poem."

The competition is open to poets/writers between the ages of 13-35 who are resident or nationals of Dominica. Although the competition is centred around Valentine's day, it is not limited to just romance but entails heartbreak, friendship, parental, spiritual and other forms of love.

The call for poems has a deadline of January 31st and a panel of Judges will select the ten best poems. After the selection process, the Many Moods of Love show will be put on by the Council on February 15th, 2009 at the Alliance Francaise de la Dominique on Elmshall Road.

The show is also expected to feature other Dominican poets, dancers, singers as well. So here i am now scurrying my brain for the perfect love poem, it has to be an original piece off course, no room for plagarism and all entries must be sent to the Council at email: nyc_dom@hotmail.com or at the office: 15 Bath Road, Roseau, Commonwealth of Dominica (next to the Newtown Savannah.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Quote of the Week: Maya Angelou

I really like this quote, particularly at this time when the National Youth Council of Dominica is coordinating Keira's Book Club. The Club, which was started by 9 year old Christina (Keira) Valentine, targets primary school students in hopes of encouraging reading as an extra curricular activity and to assist literacy programs at schools and communities across Dominica.

So far, 9 year old Keira, with the help of her mother and friends, has managed to collect and ship over 800 books to Dominica and the launch of the program is scheduled for the month of February.

A logo design competition is currently being coordinated by the Youth Council to give the program an official launch and a number of schools/persons have already shown interest in participing in the program.

This week's quote speaks of reading and it comes from Dr. Maya Angelou.

Dr. Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director, she continues to travel the world, spreading her legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou's unique power to help readers of every orientation span the lines of race and Angelou captivates audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of her words and lyrics.

And now the quote:

"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him."

To support Keira's Book Club please contact the National Youth Council of Dominica at email: nyc_dom@hotmail.com or simply reply to this blog post.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Disability isn't Inability

Disability isn't inability and I believe that more and more as I continue to observe the students of the Alpha Centre (A special school for special children) in Dominica.

Last week, the staff and students of the school had an opening ceremony for their compost project. The school is one of the first to fully embrace organic agriculture and the compost heap will go along way in ensuring that the students are able to contribute to the school garden.

Although I had a small bit to do with the project, all praises has to go to Mr. Camille "Siwattu" Leblanc who has tirelessy worked with the students. He mentioned that he has gained alot of strength through their unending enthusiasm.

The project was funded by UNESCO through the local Dominican Commission with support from the Division of Agriculture and Youth Development Division.

Timely Reflections

unlike many others before it, this one took some time outta me, and like the name says, it came with great reflection. Hopefully i didnt complicate the message and it is clearly understood. Right now it is one of my favourites, but then again, every one i write gets unto my list of favourites.

Timely reflections
By Delroy “Nest@” Williams

From time,
the outlook seems in synch
but calamity is brewing
for though there is strength,
uncertainty runs within
coupled by human weakness
fully clothed with nakedness
inner peace is afar.
for born out of struggle
conflict is all that’s known,
the finish line though in sight
like the horizon; only a blur

In this world
There are lots of almost
but there are no certainties here.
when it seems all is already won
it’s clear the race has just begun.
Falling short every time
living out something preordained;
this script of struggle, of oppression
so as this world’s captive
on route to undeniable tragedy
but is there promised life beyond
as the chosen one?

Will it all be worth it?
because the journey continues
with the rebirth,
as newborns join the line.
in the end who will win?
Who can foretell?
Only time…


Monday, January 12, 2009

Why I write poetry

This isnt the first poem I read, nor is it the first one to touch me, but it is the first one that said what i wanted to say in poetry. I can't remember where I first read, heard or saw it being performed but I do remember that it touched my inner being.
Yesterday I saw it being performed again by Matubaruka and all the feelings came back all at once, the feelings of oppression, struggle, fight, freedom and so much more came back to me and I saw my purpose all over again. It also brought back so much emotion and memory, like the first time i saw the Colour Purple or the Roots miniseries on TV.

Made me feel ashamed and proud to be Black all at the same time. Ashamed because we seem to forget while claiming to remember, we seem to be conscious so much but ignorant of alot more. It is probably the longest poem that I have read and it still manages to capture me, line after line. And this poem is:

Dis Poem
by Mutabaruka

dis poem
shall speak of the wretched sea
that washed ships to these shores
of mothers cryin for their young
swallowed up by the sead
is poem shall say nothin new
dis poem shall speak of time
time unlimited time undefined
dis poem shall call names
names like lumumba kenyatta nkrumah
hannibal akenaton malcolm garvey
haile selassie
dis poem is vexed about apartheid rascism fascism
the klu klux klan riots in brixton atlanta
jim jones
dis poem is revoltin against 1st world 2nd world
3rd world division man made decision
dis poem is like all the rest
dis poem will not be amongst great literary works
will not be recited by poetry enthusiasts
will not be quoted by politicians nor men of religion
dis poem s knives bombs guns blood fire
blazin for freedom
yes dis poem is a drum
ashanti mau mau ibo yoruba nyahbingi warriors
uhuru uhuru
uhuru namibia
uhuru soweto
uhuru afrika
dis poem will not change things
dis poem need to be changed
dis poem is a rebirth of a peoplarizin awaking understandin
dis poem speak is speakin have spoken
dis poem shall continue even when poets have stopped writin
dis poem shall survive u me it shall linger in history
in your mindin time forever
dis poem is time only time will tell
dis poem is still not written
dis poem has no poet
dis poem is just a part of the story
his-story her-story our-story the story still untold
dis poem is now ringin talkin irritatin
makin u want to stop it
but dis poem will not stop dis poem is long cannot be short
dis poem cannot be tamed cannot be blamed
the story is still not told about dis poem
dis poem is old new
dis poem was copied from the bible your prayer book
playboy magazine the n.y. times readers digest
the c.i.a. files the k.g.b. files
dis poem is no secret
dis poem shall be called boring stupid senseless
dis poem is watchin u tryin to make sense from dis poem
dis poem is messin up your brains
makin u want to stop listenin to dis poem
but u shall not stop listenin to dis poem
u need to know what will be said next in dis poem
dis poem shall disappoint u
dis poem is to be continued in your mind in your mind
in your mind your mind

for more info on the Jamaican poet or to view him performing the poem
And this poem shall live on in me

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Now I remember why I stopped reading books

Selective amnesia is what I blame it on, lol. My last week journey led to me a place that I hadnt visited in a few years, The Dominica Public Library.

It all started when I went to Acme Garage to follow up on a barrel of books that was sent to me as the local coordinator of Keira's Book Club. I have been trying to locate those books for the past week and I felt now that after futile phone calls that it was time I took a visit down to the business firm. That didnt do me much good, for after about ten minutes of searching through shipping records I realized that I was getting nowhere. The package was sent along with books for the Dominica Public Library.
I was advised to make a visit to the Dominica Port Authority where i could personally look in the storage shed for my consignment. But I only had one hour to do so and anyone who knows the port system in Dominica knows that even with all proper documentation it is impossible to get through the filing work in an hour, so it is even worse when like me, you only looking for possible clues.

So I made my way to the library to speak to the Chief Librarian, instead I met with a nice young lady who was acting in the position. As a student of my alma mata, I knew I could trust her (time will tell though, lol) to give me some quality advice. She told me that they had gotten a call about a shipment but they had yet to follow up on it but as soon as they do they would contact me, she took my name and contact information and sent me on my way. I left her office with a bit more assurance than I had came with, for one she went to the Dominica Grammar School and two, she was cute and charming too.

One my way out, I stopped at the front desk and inquired about borrowing books from the Library. I have borrowed books already from the library, I found out that the last one I borrowed was in 2002, called The Alibi, but I don't remember reading that book. I was told by the library assistant that i had an overdue book, The Alibi, which I had to pay the fees for...And then it all came back to me all at once, lol, I had stopped coming to the Library because I had lost the book. But I didnt pay a cent, because although their records show that I didnt return the book, they couldnt find my library card, lol, I got off, lol, but I did promise to take donate some of my books to them.

I then filled out a new library card, borrowed a book my Michael Eric Dyson, one of my favourite authors. The book, I May Not Get There With You, is about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I intend to read that one and off course return it to the library...And so the story countinues.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

quote of the week: think before you speak

When i first came upon this quote i let off a loud laugh, not because it was funny but it brought back memories of people calling the radio talkshows in Dominica saying whatever comes to mind and with no regards to whether it makes sense or whether their comments were even warranted.
The quote also brings back images of suffering, i guess because it speaks of attaining freedom the image of blacks being brutalized for their freedoms. I am not saying that blacks are the only ones who were made to suffer for personal freedoms but as a black man myself, i can more relate to that struggle.

This quote also brings back another one which i heard often as a little boy, that "one must listen twice as much as one speaks and for that reason God gave us two ears but only one mouth." I cant remember where i heard it first nor do i know who wrote it but i know it as a true saying. It is always better to first listen then speak.

The quote for this week comes from Soren Kierkegaard who was a Danish Theologian and Philosopher. And it reads:

"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use." --Soren Kierkegaard

Mr. Kierkegaard has many more famous quotes, click here, and he even predicted that he would be famous after his death. In his journal, he wrote:

"What the age needs is not a genius - it has had geniuses enough, but a martyr, who in order to teach men to obey would himself be obedient unto death. What the age needs is awakening. And therefore someday, not only my writings but my whole life, all the intriguing mystery of the machine will be studied and studied. I never forget how God helps me and it is therefore my last wish that everything may be to his honour."

For more information on Soren Kierkegaard


Tell me your dreams

To tell the truth, I dont know why I called the poem Tell Me Your Dreams and there isn't much that I can say about the poem, I will leave it up to the readers if they want to share what they feel the poem is about. Maybe then I will share my thoughts about it and give some insight as to what lead me to write it, although when I first wrote it, it looked nothing like what is below.

Tell me your dreams

My poetry is here
Luminous; that of my world

As a window to my soul
Offered as my gift to you.

Breaking my spirit’s chains
This internal fight for freedom

But in it nothing is at it seems
For things haven’t changed

Even in my smile;
I cry.

And buried within the laughter
This anger I feel

Although a strength of spirit is in me
Unspoken forces trouble my mind

For in my haste of good intentions
I see no further than the horizon

And the answers to my questions are far off
In your poetry that you keep tied up

By Delroy “Nest@” Williams

Monday, January 5, 2009

Carnival and Calypso come in with the New Year

Happy New Year to one and all if i didn't already say it. I've been off the net for a little while but i came back on to spread the good news.

Yes, it's January and if you live in the Caribbean, particularly Dominica and Trinidad then you know it is Carnival and Calypso time. Nothing bigger than the calypso artform in either of these countries.

The action has already started in Dominica for last night was the elimination round of the calypso competition for 2009. I am so elated, not just because it is carnival season but because my very good friend, closest of female friends, Yoland "Yolie" Dorival made it through the elimination round with her song Unfortunate. It is even more amazing when you find out that she only had the song 4 days prior to the competition and decided to enter just a few days before the cut off period.

The song tackles the need for increase diversity in the daily vocabulary of Dominicans and points it out as something unfortunate. As a Dominican, I can tell you that when a word becomes popular here, you hear it all over and from every one. Last year, the word diaspora took a beating because of the reunion celebration.

But let me get back to the competition, only two newcomers made it passed the elimination round, Beetle J being the other calypsonian to make it to the quarterfinals. Former calypso finalist De Booplay who had taken some time off from competing, is also among the twelve selected to go to the next round. Bassy, Senator, Delah, Comforter, General Kendes, Son of De Saint, Jamma B, Educator, and Iration are the other quarter-finalists.

I am looking forward to that show to give full support to all the calypsonians but especially Yolie as she belts out another tune, look out for it too. I've read the lyrics and it promises to be a crowd pleaser, we could just go all the way and yes i said we, cause i intend to support her to the maximum. It is not everyday that a close friend of yours has a chance of making to the cream of the crop of competitions in Dominica, especially since she would never go up for the National Queen show. Hopefully i will be able to share the lyrics with those of you checking out my blog.