Derek Walcott (1930- )
Biographical Information

Caribbean poet, playwright, and art critic, awarded the Nobel Prize in 1992. Walcott's writings deal with the Caribbean encounter, convergence and conflict of different races, cultures, languages and traditions, including African, British, and French. His work attempts to bring together and explore the continuities and ruptures between past and present, the classical and the postcolonial, the Western and the non-Western.

Born in 1930 in Castries, St. Lucia. St. Lucia is Caribbean island of the West Indies, Lesser Antilles group, formerly a British possession. It is located about 25 miles south of Martinique and 20 miles north of St. Vincent, about 250 miles north of the coast of Venezuela


Mixed-race background, father a painter and poet of Caribbean, British and Dutch ancestry, mother a Methodist teacher native of the West Indies (1)


Studied at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica


Founded the Trinidad Theater Workshop (1959)


Studied theatre in the United States under a Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship

MacArthur Foundation Genius Award (1981)


Alternated living in Trinidad and in Boston, Massachusetts, teaching at Harvard and Boston University


Nobel Prize (1992)


Main Works

Drama:

Harry Dernier (1952)
Ti-Jean and His Brothers (1957)
Dream on Monkey Mountain (1967)
The Joker of Seville (1974)
Remembrance (1977)
Pantomime (1978)
A Branch of the Blue Nile (1983)
The Odyssey (1992)


Poetry:

25 Poems (1948)
In a Green Night (1962)
Another Life (1973)
Sea Grapes (1976)
Midsummer (1984)
Omeros (1990) (click here for notes and study questions)
The Bounty (1997)
Tiepolo's Hound (2000)


Selected Quotations

"The stalls of the market contained the Antilles'
history as well as Rome's, the fruit of an evil,
where the brass scales swung and were only made level

by the iron tear of the weight, each brass basin
balanced on a horizon, but never equal,
like the old world and and new, as just as things might seem." (Omeros, Ch. VII )


"Art is immortal and weighs heavily on us." (Omeros, Ch. XXXVI)