Years of Fighting Exile
These powerful and original poems are the expression of a life which spans a childhood on the sugar estates of Guyana, a young manhood involved with such liberating spirits of the anti-colonial movement in the Guyanese arts as Martin Carter, Wilson Harris and Ivan Van Sertima, the painful decision to go into exile and years of disillusion in Britain.
Milton Williams
ISBN number
Country setting
United Kingdom
Publication date
09 Jan 1986

Yet though some of these poems stare into the face of despair, the collection as a whole expresses a visionary faith in the regenerative power of love and the freedom of the poetic imagination. The collection brings together the radical anticolonial poems and an African Guyanese man's paens of praise to Indian womanhood of Pray for Rain (1958); the poems of psychic disturbance of Sources of Agony (1979) and many previously unpublished. The language of these poems is marked by a rich fertility of image and a bold heterogeneity of diction, a reflection of the diverse sources of experience from which they grow.

'Williams's journey from hope to disillusion parallels the experience of many other black people, old and young; but he retails that journey with sensitivity and maturity...' Prabu Guptara British Book News

''To Alice' and 'Ann Whittaker' deal with love, that most ordinary of miracles, in a way that makes it seem magical... They range from protest to bawdiness with room for celebration somewhere between.' Jeffrey Robinson Kyk-over-Al.


Milton Williams

Milton Williams was born on Plantation Lusignan on East Coast Demerara, Guyana, in 1936. His mother, who named him after the seventeenth century poet, was an avid reader and great lover and quoter of poetry. He remembers watching the occasional performance of a Shakespeare play at the local church school in Buxton, performed by the pupils of Queens Royal College and recalled how workers in the sugar factory, where his father was an engineer, were able to quote Shakespeare and used that skill in wooing the village girls. The Williams family were staunch church-going people, deeply versed in the Bible, though Milton recalls an occasion when the family home was visited by an obeah man dressed from head to foot in white. Milton Williams’ own more idiosyncratic education began courtesy of Georgetown Public Library. Tolstoy and Walt Whitman were but two of the writers he read.
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