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He began writing poetry at an early age, taught at schools in Saint Lucia and Grenada, and contributed articles and reviews to periodicals in Trinidad and Jamaica. Productions of his plays began in Saint Lucia in , and he studied theatre in New York City in — He lived thereafter in Trinidad and the United States, teaching for part of the year at Boston University. Walcott was best known for his poetry, beginning with In a Green Night: Poems — The verse in Selected Poems , The Castaway , and The Gulf is similarly lush in style and incantatory in mood as Walcott expresses his feelings of personal isolation, caught between his European cultural orientation and the black folk cultures of his native Caribbean.

Derek Walcott: Politics and Poetics

Another Life is a book-length autobiographical poem. In Sea Grapes and The Star-Apple Kingdom , Walcott uses a tenser, more economical style to examine the deep cultural divisions of language and race in the Caribbean.

Derek Walcott: Poetry

The Fortunate Traveller and Midsummer explore his own situation as a black writer in America who has become increasingly estranged from his Caribbean homeland. The latter are mostly watercolours of island scenes.


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The book-length poem The Prodigal , its setting shifting between Europe and North America , explores the nature of identity and exile. Aging is a central theme in White Egrets , a volume of new poems. The Odyssey: A Stage Version appeared in The essays in What the Twilight Says are literary criticism.

Derek Walcott

They examine such subjects as the intersection of literature and politics and the art of translation. Derek Walcott. Paula Burnett offers a new interpretation of the life's work of acclaimed St. Lucian poet, playwright, and Nobel Prize winner Derek Walcott. Often regarded as the radical voice of the Third World, his drama and poetry together form a coherent project designed to create a legacy for modern Caribbean society.


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Illuminating his ideology and the technique that informs his writing, Burnett discusses his unique approach to myth, identity, and aesthetics. In addition to his poetry, the book draws extensively on Walcott's essays, plays, broadcasts, private interviews, and public appearances, some previously unpublished or unrecorded.

What emerges is the picture of an epic poet with remarkable gifts working to impart the distinctive wisdom of Caribbean culture--a politically aware writer celebrating his people, place, and language. Burnett also reveals an artist with a message to the world: that a positive sense of identity can be built out of negative circumstances like injustice and exploitation, if only creativity is mobilized.