Walcott, Derek Alton
Often focusing on West Indian folk traditions, Walcott's plays include Dream on Monkey Mountain (1970), The Joker of Seville (1975), Remembrance: Pantomime (1980), A Branch of the Blue Nile (1986), The Odyssey (1992), and The Capeman (1997), a musical (and Broadway flop) written with Paul Simon. Walcott was a master of lyric, narrative, and epic poetry. His verse collections include the breakthrough In a Green Night (1962), which first brought him to international attention, The Castaway (1969), and the 4,000-line autobiographical poem Another Life (1973) as well as Sea Grapes (1976), Midsummer (1984), The Bounty (1997), and the intensely personal poems of old age in White Egrets (2010). Often considered his masterpiece, his epic poem Omeros (1990) echoes and reimagines Homer's Iliad and Odyssey in the Caribbean's colonial past and complex present. Tiepolo's Hound (2001), in which he interwove his own story with that of the St. Thomas–born painter Camille Pissarro, and The Prodigal (2004), a memoir of journey and return and an elegiac meditation on fame and death, are also book-length narrative poems. In all, he published about 20 volumes of poetry and a similar number of plays as well as wrote numerous essays, articles, and reviews as well. Walcott also was a realist painter; his cover art and illustrations sometimes accompanied his poetry. He taught at Boston Univ. from 1981–2007, dividing his time among Boston, New York, and St. Lucia. He received a MacArthur Foundation
genius grant in 1981 and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.
See selected poetry (2007, ed. by E. Baugh; and 2014, ed. by G. Maxwell); selected prose in Derek Walcott, The Journeyman Years (2013, Vol. 1 ed. by G. Collier, Vol. 2 ed. by G. Collier and C. Balme); W. Baer, Conversations with Derek Walcott (1996); biography by B. A. King (2000); studies by N. Thomas (1980), R. Terada (1992), R. D. Hamner (1981, rev. ed. 1993; as ed., 1993), B. A. King (1995), and J. L. Espejo and J. M. P. Fernández, ed. (2001).
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