Derek Walcott OBE OCC is a Saint Lucian poet, playwright, writer and visual artist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2011 for White Egrets. His works include the Homeric epic Omeros. Robert Graves wrote that Walcott "handles English with a closer understanding of its inner magic than most, if not any, of his contemporaries”.
Walcott was born and raised in Castries, Saint Lucia, in the West Indies with a twin brother, the future playwright Roderick Walcott, and a sister. His mother, a teacher, had a love of the arts who would often recite poetry. His father, who painted and wrote poetry, ... more »
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Derek Walcott Poems
Love After Love
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror
A City's Death By Fire
After that hot gospeller has levelled all but the churched sky, I wrote the tale by tallow of a city's death by fire; Under a candle's eye, that smoked in tears, I Wanted to tell, in more than wax, of faiths that were snapped like wire.
The Sea Is History
Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs? Where is your tribal memory? Sirs, in that gray vault. The sea. The sea has locked them up. The sea is History.
A Far Cry From Africa
A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt Of Africa, Kikuyu, quick as flies, Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt. Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Broad sun-stoned beaches. White heat. A green river.
Those five or six young guys lunched on the stoop that oven-hot summer night whistled me over. Nice
After The Storm
There are so many islands! As many islands as the stars at night on that branched tree from which meteors are shaken like falling fruit around the schooner Flight.
The Glory Trumpeter
Old Eddie's face, wrinkled with river lights, Looked like a Mississippi man's. The eyes, Derisive and avuncular at once, Swivelling, fixed me. They'd seen
Night in the Gardens of Port of Spain
Night, the black summer, simplifies her smells into a village; she assumes the impenetrable musk of the negro, grows secret as sweat,
Forest Of Europe
The last leaves fell like notes from a piano and left their ovals echoing in the ear; with gawky music stands, the winter forest looks like an empty orchestra, its lines
In The Virgins
You can't put in the ground swell of the organ from the Christiansted, St.Croix, Anglican Church behind the paratrooper's voice: 'Turned cop after Vietnam. I made thirty jumps.'
There is a shattered palm on this fierce shore, its plumes the rusting helm- et of a dead warrior.
Schizophrenic, wrenched by two styles, one a hack's hired prose, I earn me exile. I trudge this sickle, moonlit beach for miles,
Those villages stricken with the melancholia of Sunday, in all of whose ocher streets one dog is sleeping those volcanoes like ashen roses, or the incurable sore
Quotationsmore quotations »
''Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.''Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. "Dissolving the Sigh of History," Guardian (London, Dec. 16, 1992).
''The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.''Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. Interview in Writers at Work, Eighth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1988).
''I come from a place that likes grandeur; it likes large gestures; it is not inhibited by flourish; it is a rhetorical society; it is a society of physical performance; it is a society of style.''Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. Interview in Writers at Work, Eighth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1988).
''Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic.''Derek Walcott (b. 1930), West Indian poet, playwright. Interview in Writers at Work, Eighth Series, ed. George Plimpton (1988).
(4 April 1928 - 28 May 2014)
(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
(10 December 1830 – 15 May 1886)
(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616)
(12 July 1904 – 23 September 1973)
Edgar Allan Poe
(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849)
(1 February 1902 – 22 May 1967)
(31 May 1819 - 26 March 1892)
(16 August 1920 – 9 March 1994)
Love After Love
The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.