NON FICTION? by Ava C. Ralph

PicsArt_01-27-06.28.14Ava C. Ralph, 15 at the time of submission, now 16, is a student at the Antigua Girls High School, who says she wrote ‘Non Fiction?’ “to keep myself sane. Reason for writing this like this: I really don’t know.” On learning she’d been named to the long list, she emailed, “Not gonna lie I still cannot believe you actually read my poem. Thank you so much for everything. I am beyond excited.”

Judges’ verdict: “Depth with a subtle invitation to look deeper.”

In the 2017 Wadadli Pen Challenge, they ranked Ralph’s poem 2nd in the 13 to 17 age category.


How can I not write about non-fiction when this life is all I know
Truth be told I could write this poem a million times, and every time a piece of me will be lost
All that will happen is that
No otherworldly magic will occur
I’ll  simply mask the words giving myself a new form
‘Cause the poet in me is just a shape shifter, really
Somebody tell Papa Ben step to the side and  watch the real master mek moves
Let me hide myself behind metaphors, puns and tings
Let me be like my ancestors singing to cope with the pain, pouring my life into a bottle and then calling myself Brer Anansi because no one really cares for reality
Let me tie my struggles in banana leaves dried and died like my short lived dreams
Call me ducana although my friends would laugh and call me saltfish
Papa Ben I get it now
Let me stand by you
We can watch the forest together
Or at least here in Antigua we watch some coconut trees grow, struggle to live dehydrated, and then after years of life, lose theirs in a category three hurricane
This may seem blunt
This may even seem bitter
But I can’t help it
This is the story I’ve been forced to withstand
Written with a pen filled with life trembling in my hand

I cannot stress this anymore
I am only a measly shape shifter
Except this time only my shape has shifted
(My devices may be overlooked but then again I am too)
You said to keep this poem Caribbean so I’ll place my life on this page
Please ink my words  in red ’cause my blood is here and my ancestors’ too
Please ink my words in red just to make me seem more poetic
Please ink my words in red ’cause this is non-fiction


Please respect the writer’s copyright. And while we welcome feedback, please be constructive.

With thanks to our patrons, see this writer’s total prize haul below (and remember, support the businesses/individuals who support the arts):

EC$125 (contributed by the International Women’s Club of Antigua and Barbuda)
Books – Jeremiah, Devil of the Woods by Martina Altman, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling,  + Champions of the Gayelle by Alwyn Bully, Zeno Constance, and Pat Cumper (contributed by the Best of Books)
Certificate (sponsored by the Best of Books)

1 Comment

Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Literary Gallery, Wadadli Pen 2017, Wadadli Pen News

One response to “NON FICTION? by Ava C. Ralph

  1. I respect everything that you have written in this blog. Please continue to provide wisdom to more people like me.
    Nonfiction has been defined by many as a narrative based on actual events and information. Unlike fiction, you must exert effort and time to explore the topic as all of the information presented in work must be verifiable if possible. A nonfiction writer is not just a writer. You become a researcher to dive deep into the topic, and you become a teacher to share your knowledge with the public.

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