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Editorial Reviews. Review. “Derek Walcott is a natural poet. Walcott, who turned 84 this year, began writing young. His first poem appeared in a local paper.
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As a Caribbean man, Walcott's self-awareness--that is to say, his use of traditional poetic meters inherited from English models--helps him, over time, to produce an art that is absolute and unassailable. The expansive, celebratory texture of his verse is instantly recognisable.

The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013

He is someone who has devoted his working life to art, in many senses--art as culture, art as craft and even art on canvas. Taken as a whole, this collection gives us a kind of narrative — the story of a poet who is developing even in his eighties, sustained by faith in what poetic forms can do, and the many ways in which those forms can do it. His style is a synthesis of the influences that made the island: equal parts Shakespeare and slang.


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Walcott speaks ever as an outsider; the closest he gets to belonging is when he speaks for a country that is no one country. He remains a literary joy to savor, one of our true global treasures.

Mixed Race Studies » Derek Walcott

Now, in his 84th year, comes The Poetry of Derek Walcott , an exemplary compilation of a lifetime's best poems. Skip to main content. In stock at publisher. It is April and already no doubt for you As the journals report, the prologues of spring Appear behind the rails of city parks, And you must find it difficult to imagine This April as a season where the tide burns Black; leaves crack into ashes from the drought; Made me think of your chief scenes for painting And days of instruction at the soft villa When we watched your serious experience, learning.

Meanwhile the steamers that disturb our lost horizons prove Us lost. Time creeps over the patient who are too long patient. And my life, too early of course for the profound cigarette, I go of course through all the isolated acts, Until from all I turn to think how In the middle of the journey through my life O how I came upon you, my Reluctant leopard of the slow eyes. And then at evening again the broad light dying From the exiling sea. Bye, bye to Brooklyn, The sea was only ritual, he had Already seen complexity go mad In the asylum, metaphor.

He stood From Brooklyn, on the brink Of being, a straw doll blown From Manhattan to Mexico to sink Into that sea where vast deliriums drown. Are they Secure from doubt, do work and prayers Postpone the heretic, Thought, the anemic meditation, Does that one in gardens, cultivating rows of prayers To the Little Flower, remember Wales or Mayo?

The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 – review

They Are expressionless as gowns, their laughter Faith makes hysteria, deepening meditation. Early to rise and hard to die, does the bell's cracked faith Weary or win, do the young nun's prayers Offend the wrinkled sister who clucks at meditation As interrupting cooking? O how assured are they?

Saint Lucia's Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott interview on his extended poem "Omeros"

Admirable sacrifice, since they are human, that they Young in direction, bend sapling strong to faith, Faith. A worn carpet under an old nun's feet, and prayers A novice's candle nervous with meditation.

The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013

Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. He likes metaphor. Here is a link to the review. What troubles me about this review is a glaring omission. Auden and Dylan Thomas , they were to prove thematically characteristic. Right from the beginning, he was keen to use European poetic form to testify to the Caribbean experience.

News and commentary on Caribbean culture, literature, and the arts

He turns what might have been natural contempt for the European marauder into exotic kind of inclusiveness. Where was my randy white grandsire from? Through dirty glass his landscape fills through my face.

Black with despair he set his flesh on fire, blackening, a tree of flame. His blood burns through me as this engine races, my skin sears like a hairshirt with his name. On the bleak Sunday platform the guiltless, staring faces divide like tracks before me as I come. Like you, grandfather, I cannot change places, I am half-home. I have got to show these people that I can beat them at their own language. They are great piles of intoxicating description, always alert to the demands of meter and form, often employing rhyme or slant rhyme, great layers of adjectives firming up the noun underpainting.

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Forgive me. His vision performs and it presents a fresh clarity about living in the western world from the viewpoint of Caribbean islander with African ancestry:. We were headed steadily into the open sea.