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The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013

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A collection spanning the whole of Derek Walcott’s celebrated, inimitable, essential career “He gives us more than himself or ‘a world’; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.” To Joseph Brodsky’s words of praise, one might add the more concrete honors that the renowned poet Derek Walcott has received: a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant; the Queen’s Gol A collection spanning the whole of Derek Walcott’s celebrated, inimitable, essential career “He gives us more than himself or ‘a world’; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.” To Joseph Brodsky’s words of praise, one might add the more concrete honors that the renowned poet Derek Walcott has received: a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant; the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry; the Nobel Prize in Literature.      Now, The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013 draws from every stage of his storied career. Here is his very earliest work—“In My Eighteenth Year,” published when he was eighteen; his first widely celebrated verses—“A Far Cry from Africa,” which speaks of violence, of loyalties divided in one’s very blood; his mature work—“The Schooner Flight” from The Star-Apple Kingdom; and his late masterpieces—the tenderness of “Sixty Years After” from the 2010 collection White Egrets.      Across sixty-five years, Walcott grapples 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, edited by the celebrated English poet Glyn Maxwell, will prove as enduring as the questions and passions that have driven Walcott to write for more than half a century.


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A collection spanning the whole of Derek Walcott’s celebrated, inimitable, essential career “He gives us more than himself or ‘a world’; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.” To Joseph Brodsky’s words of praise, one might add the more concrete honors that the renowned poet Derek Walcott has received: a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant; the Queen’s Gol A collection spanning the whole of Derek Walcott’s celebrated, inimitable, essential career “He gives us more than himself or ‘a world’; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.” To Joseph Brodsky’s words of praise, one might add the more concrete honors that the renowned poet Derek Walcott has received: a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant; the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry; the Nobel Prize in Literature.      Now, The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013 draws from every stage of his storied career. Here is his very earliest work—“In My Eighteenth Year,” published when he was eighteen; his first widely celebrated verses—“A Far Cry from Africa,” which speaks of violence, of loyalties divided in one’s very blood; his mature work—“The Schooner Flight” from The Star-Apple Kingdom; and his late masterpieces—the tenderness of “Sixty Years After” from the 2010 collection White Egrets.      Across sixty-five years, Walcott grapples 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, edited by the celebrated English poet Glyn Maxwell, will prove as enduring as the questions and passions that have driven Walcott to write for more than half a century.

30 review for The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    The early work is too caught up in a colonial's effort to demonstrate mastery of the English canon. And the late poems are less radical than his best work, heavy on reminiscence and travel. (But if you had been born on a small island, got windfalls late in life from the MacArthur Foundation and the Nobel Prize Committee, and were fortunate enough to live into a ninth decade, wouldn't you spend your time globe-trotting and reminiscing? Of course you would, we all would.) But in between, and on th The early work is too caught up in a colonial's effort to demonstrate mastery of the English canon. And the late poems are less radical than his best work, heavy on reminiscence and travel. (But if you had been born on a small island, got windfalls late in life from the MacArthur Foundation and the Nobel Prize Committee, and were fortunate enough to live into a ninth decade, wouldn't you spend your time globe-trotting and reminiscing? Of course you would, we all would.) But in between, and on the bookends as well, so much insight, so elegantly, poignantly rendered.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rosa Jamali

    from “A Far Cry from Africa” Derek Walcott I who am poisoned with the blood of both, Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? I who have cursed The drunken officer of British rule, how choose Between this Africa and the English tongue I love? Betray them both, or give back what they give? How can I face such slaughter and be cool? How can I turn from Africa and live? The poem which is an outcry of colonialism describes the marginalized voices, as a commonwealth poet, he is speaking the voices of minoriti from “A Far Cry from Africa” Derek Walcott I who am poisoned with the blood of both, Where shall I turn, divided to the vein? I who have cursed The drunken officer of British rule, how choose Between this Africa and the English tongue I love? Betray them both, or give back what they give? How can I face such slaughter and be cool? How can I turn from Africa and live? The poem which is an outcry of colonialism describes the marginalized voices, as a commonwealth poet, he is speaking the voices of minorities, talking about racism and isolation. As Frantz Fanon in "Black Skin, White Masks" mentions this makes the narrator nervous and marginalized from the whole society. There is a question of identity here which has been left uncertain. The paradoxes we see in this poem are a collection of contraries. The poem has a tone of anger and despair.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

    3½ stars. My biggest complaint is that this volume is overwhelming -- too large to be appreciated in a 2-week library loan. If I owned this and could read the poems more slowly I would probably be giving it a higher rating. As it is, I just read about 300 pages before it had to be returned. Luckily my strategy of reading from about 6 different locations gave me a chance to experience at least a taste of each of the major selections included. I found that my favorite section was from "White Egrets 3½ stars. My biggest complaint is that this volume is overwhelming -- too large to be appreciated in a 2-week library loan. If I owned this and could read the poems more slowly I would probably be giving it a higher rating. As it is, I just read about 300 pages before it had to be returned. Luckily my strategy of reading from about 6 different locations gave me a chance to experience at least a taste of each of the major selections included. I found that my favorite section was from "White Egrets" although the "Midsummer" section ran a close second. I didn't care for the early work nearly as much as the later poetry.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kübra Yağmur Aslanhan

    The Time Traveler's Wife kitabının girişinde Love After Love şiirine düşmem sonucunda bu TBR’yi yapıyorum. ❤ The Time Traveler's Wife kitabının girişinde Love After Love şiirine düşmem sonucunda bu TBR’yi yapıyorum. ❤

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hans Wigman

    'Reading' a book of poetry is a challenging concept - it's simply not appropiate. You don't go through poems like you're reading a novel. So the 'currently reading' status may be permanent. That said, Derek Walcott has been my favourite poet for some years. His writing is often quite dense and it certainly requires effort, but it's immensely evocative and rich, even satisfying to me if I don't really grasp all he's saying. Quite deservedly, Walcott won the Nobel prize in 1992 .

  6. 4 out of 5

    Trina Marie

    Definitely didn't get all the way through this giant book, but Derek's poems are incredible. Reminds me of ee cummings, but easier to understand. (My FAVORITE poem in this collection is Love After Love)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Zubyre Parvez

    My favourite poet.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Aurélie

    Absolutely incredible. I have never read poetry like this before - it is superb. I can't put it into words myself, but these two quotes explain it all: - ‘His work is conceived on an oceanic scale and one of its fundamental concerns is to give an account of the simultaneous unity and division created by the ocean and by human dealings with it’ (Sean O’Brien) - ‘The verse is constantly trembling with a sense of the body in time, the self slung across meter, whether meter is steps, or nights, or bre Absolutely incredible. I have never read poetry like this before - it is superb. I can't put it into words myself, but these two quotes explain it all: - ‘His work is conceived on an oceanic scale and one of its fundamental concerns is to give an account of the simultaneous unity and division created by the ocean and by human dealings with it’ (Sean O’Brien) - ‘The verse is constantly trembling with a sense of the body in time, the self slung across meter, whether meter is steps, or nights, or breath, whether lines are days, or years, or tides.’ (Glyn Maxwell)

  9. 5 out of 5

    ✨ Anna ✨

    After being introduced to Derek Walcott in Prof class, I've been a fan and was excited to find this volume.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I know nothing about poetry but I really enjoyed this.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rae

    As much as I hate Walcott (and I really do), it's hard to deny that his poetry is pretty damn good. Just try your hardest to look past the blatant misogyny and you might even enjoy it

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rob Wright

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elibardo Villegas

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rafaella

  15. 4 out of 5

    robert marchant

  16. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Pritchett

  17. 5 out of 5

    LC

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alana

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joan

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rupert Symons

    Enchanting

  21. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Jones

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jim Manis

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ross

  25. 5 out of 5

    Loren Valterza

  26. 5 out of 5

    Noel Tock

  27. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alannah Adriel

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lara

  30. 4 out of 5

    Monique

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