The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013

The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013

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ISBN
9780571313808
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9780571313808
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Price
£30.00
Paperback

About the Book

'He gives us more than himself or 'a world'; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.' Alongside Joseph Brodsky's words of praise one might mention the more concrete honours that the renowned poet Derek Walcott has received: a MacArthur Fellowship; the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry; the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 draws from every stage of the poet's storied career. Here are examples of his very earliest work, like 'In My Eighteenth Year,' published when the poet himself was still a teenager; his first widely celebrated verse, like 'A Far Cry from Africa,' which speaks of violence, of loyalties divided in one's very blood; his mature work, like 'The Schooner Flight' from The Star-Apple Kingdom; and his late masterpieces, like the tender 'Sixty Years After,' from the 2010 collection White Egrets.

Across sixty-five years, Walcott has grappled with the themes that have defined his work as they have defined his life: the unsolvable riddle of identity; the painful legacy of colonialism on his native Caribbean island of St. Lucia; the mysteries of faith and love and the natural world; the Western canon, celebrated and problematic; the trauma of growing old, of losing friends, family, one's own memory. This collection, selected by Walcott's friend the English poet Glyn Maxwell, will prove as enduring as the questions, the passions, that have driven Walcott to write for more than half a century.

'He gives us more than himself or 'a world'; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.' Alongside Joseph Brodsky's words of praise one might mention the more concrete honours that the renowned poet Derek Walcott has received: a MacArthur Fellowship; the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry; the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 draws from every stage of the poet's storied career. Here are examples of his very earliest work, like 'In My Eighteenth Year,' published when the poet himself was still a teenager; his first widely celebrated verse, like 'A Far Cry from Africa,' which speaks of violence, of loyalties divided in one's very blood; his mature work, like 'The Schooner Flight' from The Star-Apple Kingdom; and his late masterpieces, like the tender 'Sixty Years After,' from the 2010 collection White Egrets. Across sixty-five years, Walcott has grappled with the themes that have defined his work as they have defined his life: the unsolvable riddle of identity; the painful legacy of colonialism on his native Caribbean island of St. Lucia; the mysteries of faith and love and the natural world; the Western canon, celebrated and problematic; the trauma of growing old, of losing friends, family, one's own memory. This collection, selected by Walcott's friend the English poet Glyn Maxwell, will prove as enduring as the questions, the passions, that have driven Walcott to write for more than half a century.
  • Derek Walcott

    Derek Walcott was born in St Lucia, in the West Indies, in 1930. The author of many plays and books of poetry, most recently White Egrets (2010), he was awarded the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1988, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. He died in 2017.

“Walcott is a generous writer in every sense. The expansive, celebratory texture of his verse is instantly recognisable. It moves with ease between city and country, between "the snow still falling in white words on Eighth Street" and the way "Sunshine [. . .] stirs the splayed shadows of the hills like moths" . . . an astonishing poet.”
- Fiona Sampson, Guardian
“The opening pages testify to [Walcott's] precociously stylish fluency and his early discovery of a subject he has yet to exhaust, the situation of a poet who writes from the margins of literary tradition . . . The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013 ends with a bang: Walcott’s last collection, White Egrets (2010), shows the 80-year-old poet still ranging insistently across the Caribbean world he has delivered to his readers for six decades and finding within it the resources to address, with wit and colour, the historically determined landscapes he has lived in.”
- John McAulifee, Irish Times