Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Literature students review One Room Shack

Here is another review of my book from two literature students of the Dominica State College. It was a class assignment that they critique a book from a Dominican author. I was very pleased that my book, One Room Shack, was selected. For comments on their book review check Dominica News Online but you can read the entire review below:

It is a rare race of Shakespeares and Walcotts that we live in.

Written by Delroy “Nesta” Williams, One Room Shack, a compilation of the aforementioned poet’s pieces is an initiative to publish his thoughts on an understandable range of topics. Mr Williams, a graduate of the Dominica Grammar School began writing at the tender age of eleven. Williams decided one day to go out on a limb and read his poems at the first Nature Island Literary Festival and got positive feedback; up until that time he was a closet poet. When asked what fueled him to publish a book he said, “Everybody kept asking when I was going to release a book and since no other young people were releasing books I did it to inspire others that they could also do it”

The poems are contemplations on topics such as; love, Dominica, opportunity, patriarchs, comfort objects, dreams, salvation, life and so on. The compilation opens with an acknowledgement of Williams’ humble beginnings in a “One Room Shack” which is essentially its (the compilation’s) namesake and ends with a poem called “Thank You” which shows the poet’s gratitude to his readers or audience for picking up his first book. The poem continues from the title, “For trusting your instinct/Picking up my first poetry book/If you take nothing else/From my rhymes and lines/Remember the spirit within us/At the core is divine.” This is someone who has appreciated his blessings and does not take them for granted. With a mindset like this, Delroy Williams can reach great heights.

During an interview, Williams stated that he wants to evoke feelings of understanding, love, self-pride and hope in readers. This was accomplished with words like ‘Dreams flow away like rivers to the sea lost among the oceans of the world, but a glimmer of hope still exists at the horizon just at the point of the sunset.

Williams’ poems are able to captivate readers as they are extremely easy to relate to. In his poem ‘Father Failed Me’ the lines ‘prison record passed from father to son not hard work, commitment or patience lifelines of past generations but rash, harsh words scarring the soul, as the world turns’ are words that almost anyone can identify with or at least understand. There is a strong Caribbean theme in his poetry; poems like ‘The Wanderer’, ‘Dominica’, Father Failed me’ and ‘De Dominican Gift’ are a few very good examples of the evident Caribbean theme. Although his poems are pretty straight forward they are still profound and able to evoke thought.

One Room Shack Mr. Williams’ first published book is to be launched on the 26th of November at Tiffany’s in Canefield. His second book which is already completed is called Moods and Attitudes. Hopefully and perhaps, his sequential works will be even better than the first as he grows as a writer.

Noting that the poems are not very close to the standards of Shakespeare, Walcott or Yeats, Mr. Williams has a long way to go, as this is a far cry from transcendental poetry. However, just because his poetry cannot compete with the greats does not mean that Williams has not published good poetry. In fact, he should be highly commended for his publication as not many people are brave enough to find means whereby to publish their work and have it stand up to scrutiny.

Written by Tamika Jude and Nellie Jules

Thursday, December 22, 2011

One Room Shack: A review of Delroy Williams’ poetry publication

A few months ago, I had a professional but small media debate with a Dominican columnist, Ian Jackson, about his article in the Sun newspaper entitled ‘Our Youths Simply do not care’. It became intense during a radio talk show where I even requested a recant from the columnist and an official apology t
o the youth of the island. Off course, he didn’t apologize, I wouldn’t have apologized either. But I made the appeal anyway. Now to get to the point, about a month ago I went to his place of work, the St. Mary’s Academy, to provide him a copy of my book One Room Shack. It is my debut publication and I asked him to do a review for his popular column. I was hoping that he would be professional and he proved to me that he indeed was. Let me say, that I had already had other discussions with him since our radio debate so we had already buried the hatchet, well whatever hatchet there could have been since I didn’t take anything that was said between the two of us personally but instead as two strong-willed individuals who had strong but opposing points. Below, is a verbatim of the column as appeared in the Sun, a few days after my book launch, perfect timing if you ask me.

The Review:

The title of this latest poetry collection is interesting; one could say even it’s an oxymoron as Delroy ‘Nesta’ Williams goes way beyond the confines of his One Room Shack to reflect, dream and even question rhetoric or philosophical in content, unveiling the rich potential of the youth leader.

Sometimes he admits being stuck not knowing “which direction to take” in life’s trials. He cries out in words from his soul even while admitting his “burden is mine alone to bear, but I’ll carry it with pride.” He searches for self, identity, love and meaning; he cries for love; he surmises that he ‘wished I coulda make it right’; or to the ‘Untitled’ he concluded that ‘maybe one day, when I’m old and gray, I’ll comprehend”.

Nesta is introspective and deep in his writings and sees a poem even in innate objects as the eye of a “Teddy Bear” who listens to his every complaint. He’s “never one to judge or caste blame” or make demands as others he once loved so dearly in his life.

Nesta’s ‘One Room Shack’ cries out for a listening ear, not just for his own sentiments but for the youths whose father have failed. “Sons slipping beyond rescue now mother cries… while father hides”. Indeed this is a reflection of our own failings as a society to be examples and be there for our sons, in particular.

In Nesta’s own words he craves a “time of seclusion” but wants to stand out; he wants his moment, to shine, “an opportunity to stand out”. Isn’t this the dream of every youth who picks up a musical instrument, goes on stage to perform, or engages in study or some vacation?

Ironically the poet acknowledges some uncertain but wants to “congregate” and be “invisible in the crowd blending in among the mob” in which he finds comfort. For amongst his peers the fears subside. He laments in ‘Tears’ which has been exhausted because there seems to be no more left to quench the desert of pain he feels inside.

“Life can be so cruel” expresses Delroy Nesta Williams; he says so many times we walk away in defeat when victory was moments within our grasp. Nesta can be direct or metaphorical as in dreams where “aspirations washed away by worldly erosion”. Deep stuff for a debut publication.

Nesta is one of Dominica’s youth who once headed the NYC and this seems to be an extension of his work in representing their thoughts, dreams and aspirations, in search of warmth, love, comfort, still elusive to the travelling man”. He finds solace, redemption in his ‘One Room Shack’ at least it’s a place where he feels safe, wanted, belonged.

The title of this collection is so appropriate; as I read through the pages I see it as a representation of physical living conditions of thousands of Caribbean poor families who want to escape win its borders but still find comfort in its confines, for after all home is home; it’s not necessarily a house.

Nesta’s ‘One Room Shack’ is full of contradictions. In his smile there are tears or in his deliberate approach as he evokes imagery and challenges a society to unravel and provide answers to the many of the questions that is tied up in his poetry.

Though an English publication, in ‘De Dominican Gift’ the poet explores the use of dialect in a commentary on the political issues of the day from ‘red, blue and green’ angles. Satirically, he concludes that all this melee and rift “is truly Dominican gift”.

Delroy ‘Nesta’ Williams debut poetry is self published just as many of us who started on this road to put our thoughts to paper. His writing talent goes beyond poetry; he was the 2nd place winner of the Independence Short Story competition.

He dedicates the compilation in honour of his mother. Support him; it’s good work.

Ian Jackson is an established writer who has published numerous books of poetry and prose. He regularly contributes articles on various aspects of Dominican culture to local newspapers and other publications. His most recent publication is the book entitled “Lyrics and Melody: 50 years of calypso, 30 years of Independence”. Ian is also a popular calypso artist known as the Black Starliner.

I have the newspaper article posted on the wall of my bedroom as inspiration to continue writing... Thanks Ian...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nesta's new adventures

I've been really busy lately, doing a million and one things and hoping to do them well too. Just in case you've missed me and wondering what i've been up to, i'm going to update you as I appreciate the people who read my blog, leave comments or just visit from time to time.

So what have I been up to? For starters i've been busy promoting my new book, the One Room Shack and i'm very happy by the positive responses that it has attracted. It's always good to get feedback and so I appreciate it and i'm very happy when persons tell me that they have enjoyed my work. Don't worry, One Room Shack will be followed up by a second book, Moods and Attitudes, i'm already putting the finishing touches on that one. I am thinking of including a few more poems in it before publishing in the summer of next year, just in time for the Nature Island Literary Festival. Be sure to look out for the book and off course, the festival as well.

I have also started a facebook page, to promote myself as an artist instead of simply having a facebook account. Someone mentioned that it would be a more professional approach to my writing and promotion of my work if i created a page. It's been created for just over a week now and I have just over thirty (30) likes, i.e. people following it's content. I am hoping to have it up to fifty (50) before the new year, baby steps I keep reminding myself. If you would like to follow the page, just click Nesta

In the midst of all that, I have also started a column for an online magazine, Da-Finest, do check it out. The column, The Chronicles of Nesta gives me a chance to broaden my readership and also tackle issues and ideas that I haven't done or didn't think of doing through my blog. I won't abandon my blog, not at all, this is my fir... well second love, behind my poetry off course. If you want to check out the column's latest entry and leave comments or suggestions, then click here: The Chronicles of Nesta.

There are a few more things that i'm working on but once they are concretized you can be certain that i will post an update here.

Thanks again,


Friday, December 16, 2011

Street Walking

So last night I was feeling bored and depressed and couldn't think so one of my friends suggested that I talk a walk. I went to look at a football game but 15 minutes after I got there the game was done.

So still feeling bored and depressed, I decided to walk through the streets of Roseau. I must reiterate that this is a normal thing for me, although I never really do it when I’m in such a down mood.

Roseau was quiet, as it normally is, with only a few people and vehicles. It was a perfect night for a stroll, or dwivay as we say in créole, except for the cold breeze that seemed to follow me everywhere. I started to think about everything and nothing all at the same time. A million thoughts ran through my mind and in trying to make sense of it all, I started to rhyme. I started to smile too, when I realized that I was creating a poem from my random thoughts. So I took at my blackberry phone, I never leave home without it and started to just jot down my thoughts and arranging them as I walked along the dark streets.

The poem is as much about my thoughts as it is about the streets of Roseau itself... Those of you who know the city at nights may attest to that once you've read the poem. So here it is:

Street Walking
By Delroy Nesta Williams 

Street walking got me thinking,
Got me realizing,
That everything in life isn’t as it seems
And though we may look for the good all around,
Sometimes only the negative can be found...
It's times like these that we need to be strong...
When we feel like our world is crashing down...
When your screams go unheard,
Everyone is busy is their own world...
How can this be my reality?
So much negative encircles my positivity...
Street walking is leading me to this unknown destination,
The beginning of nowhere,
Hope I end up somewhere,
Where my tears of words will find the tissues of ears...
And life begins to make sense again...
My sole request as I make it thru these lonely streets and dark alleys,
That life won't leave me lonely...
That someone will join me along my journey...
To hold me up when I get knocked off my path,
To give me a joke when I need to laugh...
I'll return the favour too cause I know you'll need me soon,
When life tries to upset your mood...
Street walking got me listening to myself and the sound isn't good,
It is like speaking out loud but drowned out in a crowd...
Street walking gave me a chance to exhale,
Now I can breathe freely, inhibitions out of my system,
Putting things in perspective, no longer dejected,
Street walking works and all is not lost...
All is well, out of street walking comes a story to tell

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Michael Xavier feature

Every now and then I feature a poem by someone other than myself. I do it for various reasons. I might know the person, the poem might have been an inspiration to me or just because it got my attention...

This time around I am featuring a poem by Michael Xavier whom I met during the Commonwealth Caribbean Youth Leaders Summit when I was still the President of the National Youth Council of Dominica. He is actually from Guyana and is a very talented person but never knew he was a writer. In fact, I know him as a field hockey player, although I must admit I have never seen him play but he must be good because he is on the Guyana Team.

To get back into the poem now, he sent me a love poem to get my opinion and then sent me the featured poem as a second example of his writing but what was to ensue would surprise even me. We started to freestyle (all this in a Blackberry group with other friends from across the Caribbean) and we just vibed for what seemed to be like almost an hour or even longer. He calls me the Boss of Poetry but i'm telling you he impressed me with his skill and wordplay as well...

He calls the poem Contradiction by that too is a contradiction as i prefer to just call it Untitled as I personally feel the title doesn't go the piece justice... well enough of my rambling now, enjoy the piece and feel free to suggest a title if it evokes one from you:


Blackened skies the place is cold
Saddened cries there's no one here to hold
Droplets of rain fall like tears from my eyes
Like our love washing away from all the lies
You stop, stare and breathe for a while
But there is no hint of happiness no reason to smile
For a love once had is now lost
All disappeared at an unworthy cost
Unbearable it seems, this pain I never felt
My heart grew heavy on my knees I knelt
Wishing and hoping all for a better day
Face buried in my hands, only realizing there is no other way
For no matter how hard I try or loud I shout
This time its over, our fire is out
Happiness blooms like flowers in the spring
A fire kindles like an infant bird stretching its wing
Blue skies reveal smiles that warm the heart
Like a symphony orchestra each performing brilliantly their part
In such a way that brings peace to mind
Like our love, it’s one of a kind
It’s together forever, to never be alone
A love found, it is cast in stone
To brave the storms and endure the cold
Never on your own, my hands to forever hold
And I’ll have it no other way; it will all be for you
It’ll be like a fairy tale ending, but for us, it’s true.

And before I end this note, here is a piece of my freestyle poetry in the Blackberry group (I was asking the other members of the group to join in):

Where's Jason and Ato?
I'm waiting on them to join in
If I wait to long my words will start spoiling
Are they in their rooms hiding?
In fear, that they won't be able to keep up
This isn't a competition
Just a chance to speak up
So raise your voice
Make the right choice
Join in singing the chorus
or just write a verse or two...
If your name is Jacque then add your heavenly touch
we expect very little or so very much
I would like Feno to add her ten cents,
When she speaks she awakes my every sense
Where's Bella? the one I want to meet
She's always in here, I hope she joins this track meet
Run the mile, keep hope alive
Who have I forgotten, I hope no one
because we will need all the manpower to sing this song
This anthem most be heard, in the nooks and crannies
Spread the word to the youth, grandpas and grannies
Spread the word to all and sundry
But please do it cheaply
Because the youth aint got much money, lol
and the rest as they say it, is history