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Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott, Recipient of 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature is a poet and playwright from Saint Lucia, one of the many lovely island nations in the Carribean i.e West Indies. He was born on 23rd January, 1930 in Castris of St. Lucia. He was from mixed racial background with two white grand fathers and two black grand mothers. His father was a poet and a painter and his mother loved to recite poems- a trait which influenced the young Derek. His father died of a disease before Derek and his twin brother Roderick were born.

  In his growing period, Derek was mentored by the famous artist Harold Simmons and the association was inspiring. He himself learned the fine nuances of Art. Simultaneously, he wrote poems in English, the language that he loved most. He wanted to publish the books. His mother, in spite of her meager resources as a teacher, would arrange some funds and the young man would rush to Trinidad to print the book, He would later sell the book,recover money and hand over the money back to Derek.

   He graduated from the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica and moved to Trinidad in 1953 where he worked as a journalist and teacher.  He founded Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959. Walcott taught literature in Boston University, USA for two decades before retiring in 2007.

   Derek was greatly influenced by T S Eliot, Ezra Pound and the Barbadian poet Frank Collymore. His first poem Miltonic was published when he was 14. His poem collection In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962) attracted international attention. His poem Omeros (1990) is considered an epic and is one of his major achievements. His later poems White Egrets(2010) received T S Eliot Prize. He also won Obie Award besides Nobel Prize in Literature.

      Methodism and spirituality run deep in Walcott's writings.

 

Derek Walcott

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