Derek Walcott 




Derek Walcott 

Foto ©
* 23.01.1930, Castries , Сент-Люсия
17.03.2017, Groß Islet, Сент-Люсия

Derek Alton Walcott was born Jan. 23, 1930, Castries, Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. The experience of growing up on the isolated volcanic island, an ex-British colony, has had a strong influence on Walcott's life and work. Walcott is of mixed black, Dutch, and English descent. Both his grandmothers were said to have been the descendants of slaves. His father died when Derek and his twin brother were only a few years old. His mother ran the town's Methodist school.

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After studying at St. Mary's College in his native island and at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Walcott moved in 1953 to Trinidad, where he has worked as theatre and art critic to periodicals in Trinidad and Jamaica. He began writing poetry at an early age, at the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems in 1948, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night in 1962. He studied theatre at Jose Quintero's acting school in New York City in 1958-59 and founded in 1959 the Trinidad Theatre Workshop which produced many of his early plays.

He lived thereafter in Trinidad and the United States, teaching for part of the year at Boston University as a professor of poetry and playwriting. Walcott won the prestigious MacArthur Foundation "genius" award in 1981.

Of Walcott's approximately 30 plays, the best known are Dream on Monkey Mountain (produced 1967), Ti-Jean and His Brothers (1958), and Pantomime (1978). Many of hisplays make use of themes from black folk culture in the Caribbean.  

Walcott is best known for his poetry, beginning with In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962). This book is typical of his early poetry in its celebration of the Caribbean landscape's natural beauty. Walcott expresses his feelings of personal isolation, caught between his European cultural orientation and the black folk cultures of his native Caribbean.

Midsummer (1984) explore his own situation as a black writer in America who has become increasingly estranged from his Caribbean homeland. In his book-length poem Omeros (1990), which has been critically praised as Walcott's major achievement, he retold the dramas of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey in a 20th-century Caribbean setting.

Soon after, Walcott was the third black to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1992).

Walcott taught literature and writing at Boston University for more than two decades, publishing new books of poetry and plays on a regular basis and retiring in 2007. But in 2009, Walcott began a three-year scholar-in-residence position at the University of Alberta and from 2010 to 2013 he was Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex. 

As a part of St Lucia's Independence Day celebrations, in February 2016, he became one of the first knights of the Order of Saint Lucia, granting him the title of 'Sir'.
Walcott died, at the age of 87, at his home in St. Lucia on March 17, 2017.

  • 25 Poems.

    Port-of-Spain: Guardian Commercial Printery, 1948

  • Epitaph for the Young.

    A Poem in XII Cantos.

    Bridgetown: Barbados Advocate, 1949

  • Poems.

    Kingston, Jamaica: City Printery, 1951

  • In a Green Night.

    Poems 1948 - 60.

    London: Cape, 1962

  • Selected Poems.

    New York:: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1964

  • The Castaway and Other Poems.

    London: Cape, 1965

  • The Gulf and Other Poems.

    London: Cape, 1969

  • Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays.

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1970

  • Another Life.

    [New York: Farrar Straus Giroux].

    London: Cape, 1973

  • Sea Grapes.

    [New York: Farrar Straus Giroux].

    London: Cape, 1976

  • The Star-Apple Kingdom.

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1979

  • The Fortunate Traveller.

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1981

  • Selected Poetry.

    Ed. by Wayne Brown.

    London: Heinemann, 1981

  • The Caribbean Poetry of Derek Walcott.

    And the Art of Romare Bearden.

    New York: Limited Editions Club, 1983

  • Midsummer.

    New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1984

  • Collected Poems 1948-1984.

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1986

  • The Arkansas Testament.

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1987

  • Das Königreich des Sternapfels.

    Aus dem Englischen von Klaus Martens.

    München Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1989

  • Omeros.

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1990

  • Erzählungen von den Inseln.

    Aus dem Englischen von Klaus Martens.

    München Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1993

  • The Odyssey : A Stage Version.

    Noonday Press, 1993

  • Omeros.

    Aus dem Englischen von Konrad Klotz.

    München Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1995

  • Conversations With Derek Walcott.

    (Literary Conversations Series (Paper)).

    University Press of Mississippi, 1996

  • The Bounty.

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1997

  • What the Twilight Says.


    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 1998

  • Tiepolo's Hound.

    New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000

  • Mitsommer / Midsummer.

    Zweisprachige Ausgabe.

    Aus dem karibischen English übersetzt von Raoul Schrott.

    München Wien: Carl Hanser Verlag, 2001

  • The Haitian Trilogy.

    [Henri Christophe/Drums and Colours/The Haitian Earth].

    New York: Farrar Straus & Giroux, 2001

  • Walker and The Ghost Dance


    New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002

  • The Prodigal

    A Poem

    New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006

  • Selected Poems

    New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007

  • White Egrets


    New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010

  • The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013

  • 1969 Cholmondeley Award

  • 1971 Obie Award

  • 1972 Officer of the Order of the British Empire

  • 1981 MacArthur Foundation "genius" award

  • 1988 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry

  • 1990 Arts Council of Wales International Writers Prize

  • 1990 W. H. Smith Literary Award

  • 1992 Nobelpreis für Literatur

  • 2004 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement

  • 2008 Honorary doctorate from the University of Essex

  • 2011 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry

  • 2011 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature

  • 2013 Preis der Stadt Münster für Internationale Poesie

  • 2015 Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award

  • 2016 Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Lucia

  • A recording by Derek Walcott

    Listen to a recording 'A Lesson for This Sunday' by Derek Walcott from 1964 on

    Website (en)
  • Derek Walcott @ Poetry International Web

    More poems of Derek Walcott in original and english translations and further information about the poet.

    Website (en)
  • Derek Walcott @ Wikipedia