Derek Walcott, is derek walcott dead, caribbean writer, black writer

Derek Walcott receiving the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature from King Carl Gustav of Sweden.

Derek Walcott has passed away aged 87. During his successful and inspirational life, he was able to be awarded the Noble prize for Literature.

The BBC has confirmed that Caribbean poet and playwriter Derek Walcott has died in his home in St Lucia:

Nobel laureate poet Derek Walcott has died aged 87 at his home in the Caribbean island of St Lucia after a long illness, local media reports say.

He was regarded by critics as one of the greatest Caribbean poets.

The writer’s collections include In A Green Night: Poems 1948 – 1960 and his epic work, Omeros, which draws on Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.

He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry in 2011.

Born in Saint Lucia, poet and playwright Derek Walcott began work as a painter but found his true calling in writing & poetry. At age 14, Derek published his first poem in a local newspaper.

Poetry Foundation wrote:

Five years later, he borrowed $200 to print his first collection, 25 Poems, which he distributed on street corners. Walcott’s major breakthrough came with the collection In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962), a book which celebrates the Caribbean and its history as well as investigates the scars of colonialism and post-colonialism. Throughout a long and distinguished career, Walcott has returned to those same themes of language, power, and place. His recent collections include Tiepolo’s Hound (2000), The Prodigal (2004), Selected Poems (edited by Edward Baugh, 2007) and White Egrets (2010). In 1992, Walcott won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel committee depicted his work as “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”

The Guardian wrote:

His monumental poetry, including 1973’s verse autobiography, Another Life, and his Caribbean reimagining of The Odyssey, 1990’s Omeros, secured him an international reputation which gained him the Nobel prize in 1992. But this was matched by a theatrical career conducted mostly in the islands of his birth as a director and writer with more than 80 plays to his credit.

In this interview, Derek speaks about his work and his life

In addition to his Nobel Prize, Walcott’s honors include a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, and, in 1988, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry. He is an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He is Professor of Poetry at Essex University.

In 2012, Derek told The Guardian:

“It’s a little ridiculous. The division of black theatre and white theatre still goes on, and I don’t wish to be a part of any one of those definitions. I’m a Caribbean writer.”

We hope that the literary world remembers and recognises regardless of his demographic. However, as Black people and/or Caribbeans it is especially important we honour the trailblazers from our community. Those of whom broke down doors and barriers so that today we have more opportunities to follow in their footsteps and pursue our dreams.

No doubt his work will continue to inspire future generations.

If you want to check out more of his work, click here.

RIP Derek Walcott 1930-2017


Antoine Allen

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