RIP Derek Walcott

I really do have a good excuse for not posting here since January as I’m currently working on my MA dissertation, which is due in the first week of April.

Some of you may know from the about this blog page, that this website was initially created for the first module on my MA International Journalism course at Napier University in Edinburgh, and it certainly seems a long time since I started it and embarked on being a distance learning student while still working full time. It’s been a long journey but now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel I would have to say that it was worth it.

I actually can’t quite believe my studying will soon be over and I am treating myself soon afterwards with my first trip to Africa – which I am obviously excited about (and which will probably lead to another long gap between posts – sorry).

Anyway, I wanted to put up a quick message today in respect of West Indian poet Derek Walcott who died at the weekend. If you have heard of him then I’m slightly ashamed to say that you have done better than me, as I did not know about his work or life at all until Saturday.

I was on Twitter when someone I follow posted one of his poems and said that he had died at the age of 87. I was immediately drawn to the poem which resonated with me and wanted to find out more about the author. (I know that Mr Walcott doesn’t strictly fit the criteria for this blog, as he never lived in the UK, but I hope you will indulge me, and besides he regularly spoke about how much being born in a British colony influenced his poetry).

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1992/walcott-interview-transcript.html

Derek Walcott – nobelprize.org

 

 

So a bit of Googling later and I realised that Derek Walcott was an extremely successful poet from the Caribbean island of St Lucia, who created a huge and impressive body of work, but was arguably most famous for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and his epic poem Omeros, which was a Caribbean version of The Odyssey.

Once again I find myself wondering why I was never told about Mr Walcott while I was in school and exposed to the artistry of this St Lucian wordsmith and his talent with the English language. As someone who has always written poetry myself, it would have been such an inspiration to read and know about a leading writer from the Caribbean who was being recognised on the international stage.

Anyway, now we have the Internet so I guess there is no excuse not to educate yourself and even though I am sad that I have only found out about Mr Walcott’s work because of his death, at least I can enjoy the beauty of his craft now alongside the knowledge that he was West Indian born and bred and was extremely proud of that fact, and in sharing his gift with the world managed to show it a little bit of what Caribbean people are capable of.

Love after love by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. – Derek Walcott

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