Legacy Of Derek Walcott And His Works

3637 words - 15 pages

A Nobel Award Winner and a popular West Indian literary writer, Derek Walcott was much known for his superb works on drama and poetry. Often times, his themes transgress the traditional boundaries that had been separating races, places and languages all over the world. Derek Walcott intended on exploring cross-cultural ethnicity, politics, power and places' history. A City’s Death by Fire and A Far Cry from Africa are two samples of many poem collections that he had written. Both of these came from the time when he published his first collection of poems in his book entitled "In a Green Night" (Davis 78). Because of Derek Walcott's masterful exploration on themes and stories about racial, culture, and history, it had given his poems a different feeling and experience.
With a twin brother, Derek Walcott was born and grew up in Castries, Saint Lucia. That was in West Indies and also a sister named Pamela Walcott. Coming from an African and European descent, Derek Walcott always reflects his colonial experience and history in the island through his poetry and literary works. His mother was a teacher who loved the arts and made sure that she recited poetry all over their house. His father was a painter and a poet but had died at early age of mastoiditis. Derek's family belonged to a Methodist community but was deeply influenced by the dominant Catholic traditions and beliefs of the area which was established during colonialism of France (Goldstraw 80).
With the factors and experiences that had influenced Derek's childhood and growing up, Methodism and spirituality played a significant role and was evident from the beginning of Walcott's work. It was mentioned that Derek Walcott never separated prayer from his writings and poetry. He grew up to be a religious person, a vocation which Walcott had strived to live through his life. Derek Walcott had quoted "if one thinks a poem is coming on...you do make a retreat, a withdrawal into some kind of silence that cuts out everything around you. What you’re taking on is really not a renewal of your identity but actually a renewal of your anonymity" (Gilbert 128). This is just an evidence of how Walcott sees his works as an experience that heightens to divinity or greater spirituality.
Major poets, like Robert Graves, praised Walcott's work. Robert Graves mentioned that Walcott makes use of English with a keen understanding of its innermost magic and capabilities which makes him different from his contemporaries. Joseph Brodsky, on the other hand, praised Walcott's works and writings, stating that the works are like relentless lines that had kept on coming in the English language. Like tidal waves, the works had coagulated into magnificent poems which modern literature had effectively saw and benefited. He stated, "Derek Walcott gives us more than himself or 'a world'; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language" (Callahan 48). Walcott was definitely an exemplary poet and writer whose works had...

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