The Nature Island Literary Festival 2013: Inspiring the (unlikely) Poet in Me!

I am rejoicing over all the wonderful presentations, encounters and inspirations that I experienced at Dominica’s 6th annual Nature Island Literary Festival (NILF), which was held from August 9th – 11th at the University of the West Indies Open Campus.  I will be writing a full blog report about its program to follow this one.

Although I am not spontaneous by nature, I impulsively entered their poetry writing contest without giving it much thought.  I think I was motivated by the ideas and creative works that had been shared by various literary artists and academics up to midday on the first full  day of the event.

At the  lunch  break that Saturday, I picked up an entry form for the short story and poetry competitions, and headed home.  As I sipped my soup, I read over the instructions.  The poem was to be of no more than  20 lines and had to  be about Roseau.  I overlook the fair city from my porch, and I never tire of doing so. Between spoonfuls,  I simply picked up my pen and out poured some thoughts and  feelings about the lovely capital,  in non-rhyming  free verse.  As directed, I wrote it out on the back of the instruction form, and put my name and contact info on a separate sheet that had a corresponding number with this  anonymous  instruction form.  So when I headed back for the afternoon sessions, I discretely dropped it in the entry box, and absorbed myself in other awesome literary distractions.

While I did attend most of the event, I was not at  Mero Beach for the Sunday afternoon performances and closing ceremony.  When a NILF committee member called me on Monday morning, I was more than surprised to hear that I had placed second in the poetry contest!  And even stranger, when the telephone rang, I had been sorting through some poems I had written many years ago when I first arrived on Dominica! I’ve never penned one since, that is, until this past Saturday! I’ll post my old poems in due course.  But in the mean time, here is what I wrote about lovely Roseau, on the spur of the moment:

The Botanical Gardens are a cool and lovely respite from the afternoon heat in Roseau.

The Botanical Gardens offer a cool and lovely respite from the afternoon heat in downtown Roseau.

Roseau

Stately Victorians mingle with modern designs

English street names mark places once French

Sweltering sidewalks lead to a garden of green.

 

Bayfront, cruise ships rest some days,

I love to watch  the cruise ships arrive and depart from my porch overlooking Roseau.  Photo by Edwin Whitford.

I love to look at the cruise ships. They easily anchor in the deep waters  beneath the pier on the Bayfront in Roseau. Photo by Edwin Whitford.

Roseau is a bustling little Caribbean city and is the capital of Dominica.  Photo by Edwin Whitford.

Dominica’s capital city Roseau is a bustling place. Photo of King George V Street looking west, by Edwin Whitford.

While their passengers experience

The hustle and bustle of a day in port.

 

Most nights, all is quiet

The historic Fort Young Hotel hosts a lively Happy Hour on Friday nights.

The historic Fort Young Hotel hosts a lively Happy Hour on Friday nights.

With the exception of Fridays,

When happy people meet and greet

Over loudspeakers producing pulsating beats.

 

It’s the serene spots I like best:

The Carnegie-designed Roseau Public Library was built in 1906.  It has a treasure trove of books inside!

The Roseau Public Library was built in 1906. It has a treasure trove of books inside (and computers and wireless too)!

Spending time at the century-old public library;

Or taking the steep walk up to Morne Bruce.

 

There, I can meditate over brightly coloured roofs

From Morne Bruce, the Roseau roof-tops are a riot of colour that contrasts with the calm Caribbean Sea.

From Morne Bruce, the Roseau roof-tops are a riot of colours that contrast with the calm blue Caribbean Sea.

And an endless sea view

Where the setting sun always promises another day

Roseau sunsets are simply breathtaking!

Roseau sunsets are simply breathtaking!

To really enjoy the diverse faces of lovely Roseau.

 

                                                                                                Roseau, Dominica

                                                                                                August 10, 2013

* Thanks to the organizers, sponsors, participants and enthusiasts of the Nature Island Literary Festival for inspiring the unlikely poet in me!

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4 comments on “The Nature Island Literary Festival 2013: Inspiring the (unlikely) Poet in Me!

  1. Leng says:

    Congrats Gwen! Well done!

    Like

  2. lizziemad says:

    Love the poem and the accompanying photos! Congrats!

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    • gwendominica says:

      Thanks Liz! As we discussed, I hope it will give readers who are unfamiliar with Roseau some visuals, thoughts and feelings about this charming Caribbean capital.

      Like

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