Poet Derek Walcott’s New Collection — Laureate Reads at Baywalk Mall

Walcott reading his poems last Monday. [Photo: Stan Bishop]
Walcott reading his poems last Monday. [Photo: Stan Bishop]

SAINT Lucia’s Nobel-Prize-winning poet, Derek Walcott, gave scores of listeners an earful of his poetry as he read some of his famous poems in the Baywalk Shopping Mall courtyard Monday evening.

The reading was organized by by Arts Soulucian. Walcott, 85, was in high spirits as he thumbed through the pages of “The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948-2013”, a 600-plus page collection of his poems that span that period.

The new collection was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux last year and the poems contained in the hardcover book were selected by Walcott’s friend, English poet Glyn Maxwell. The book’s jacket feature paintings by Walcott.

Walcott, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, read a handful of his poems to an appreciative audience. Among the poems he read were “The Fishermen Rowing Homeward”, “The Sisters of Saint Joseph”, “A Sea-Chantey” and “A Letter From Brooklyn”.

Since publishing his first collection of poems – “25 Poems” – at the age of 18, Walcott has gone on to publish numerous collections. Among them are “In A Green Night: Poems 1948-1960”, “The Castaway and Other Poems”, “The Gulf and Other Poems”, “Another Life”, “Sea Grapes”, “The Star-Apple Kingdom”, and the epic poem, “Omeros”.

Front cover of Walcott's latest poetry collection. [Photo: Stan Bishop]
Front cover of Walcott’s latest poetry collection. [Photo: Stan Bishop]

Walcott, also a playwright, has penned several plays, including “Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays”, “The Joker of Seville and O Babylon1!”, “Remembrance and Pantomime”, “The Odyssey”, “The Haitian Trilogy”, and “Walker and The Ghost Dance”. He has also penned a collection of essays, “What The Twilight Says”.

Following the reading, Walcott fielded questions from the audience. When asked by The VOICE whether he still has the magic it takes to pen the masterpieces that have spanned over 60 years, Walcott said he still does. When asked whether he still writes, he tapped into his wit.

“Yeah. Do you want me to stop?” Walcott replied.

When asked by an audience member whether he has a favourite poem, he replied: “A favourite? That’s not fair to the others.”

Following the reading, patrons bought copies of the new book and got them signed by Walcott. They also posed for photo ops with the internationally-renowned author.

The book is on sale at Inner Gallery for $150.

Stan Bishop began his career in journalism in March 2008 writing freelance for The VOICE newspaper for six weeks before being hired as a part-time journalist there when one of the company’s journalists was overseas on assignment.

Although he was initially told that the job would last only two weeks, he was able to demonstrate such high quality work that the company offered him a permanent job before that fortnight was over. Read full bio...

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