Midsummer (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
In this gathering of fifty-four numbered poems (corresponding to the author’s age), his seventh collection published in the United States, Derek Walcott continues to be concerned with problems that have preoccupied him for more than two decades: his relationship as a Caribbean colonial to European culture and literary traditions; to the United States; to the English language; and the resulting doubleness of his identity. Of mixed blood and cultural heritage, he is unself-consciously at home neither in his native West Indies, nor in the United States, nor in the Europe that colonized his homeland, bastardizing and compromising the native culture. As a poet of two worlds, an exile wandering between cultures and traditions, he risks being regarded as a colonial in the mother country while seeming, in the Caribbean, to pay too much deference to Europe and the United States. Despite demonstrated virtuosity, he is not entirely at home in either British or American English and risks becoming a “mulatto of style.”
Walcott renders his divided self in mirror images and other versions of doubleness. Returning from the United States to Port of Spain, he looks into his “first local mirror” and thinks of “The child who died in me.” Gazing at the alleys and shacks of the town, he notes evidence of American influence and remembers “that phrase in/...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1985)
Booklist. LXXX, February 15, 1984, p. 841.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVI, April 6, 1984, p. B9.
Georgia Review. XXXVIII, Summer, 1984, p. 402.
Hudson Review. XXXVII, Summer, 1984, p. 331.
Library Journal. CIX, January, 1984, p. 97.
The New Republic. CXC, January 23, 1984, p. 31.
The New York Times Book Review. LXXXIX, April 8, 1984, p. 14.
Poetry. CXLV, December, 1984, p. 171.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXIV, December 9, 1983, p. 42.
Virginia Quarterly Review. LX, Summer, 1984, p. 90.
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