Other Literary Forms
Derek A. Walcott began writing poetry and poetic drama as a teenager. First on street corners in Castries, then in regional journals, and ultimately through major publishing houses in England and the United States, his poetry gathered a following, eventually earning him international recognition. His early affinity for the Metaphysical poets is abundantly clear in his collection, In a Green Night: Poems, 1948-1960 (1962). Since then, his travels and his interest in a variety of cultures have added considerable variety and depth to successive volumes: The Castaway and Other Poems (1965), The Gulf and Other Poems (1969), the semi-autobiographical Another Life (1973), Sea Grapes (1976), The Star-Apple Kingdom (1979), The Fortunate Traveller (1981), and Midsummer (1984). In addition to his duties as founding director of and chief writer for the Trinidad Theatre Workshop from 1959 to 1977, Walcott contributed steadily as a columnist on the arts to the Trinidad Guardian. Selections of his journalistic prose are collected in his What the Twilight Says: Essays (1998). A recording of Walcott reading selections from his own work may be found on Caedmon’s Derek Wolcott Reads (1994); Semp Studios Ltd. (Port of Spain) has recorded the sound track for Walcott’s play The Joker of Seville (score by Galt MacDermot in 1975). The poetry selected for Collected Poems, 1948-84 (1986) and his verse narrative Omeros (1990), based on canonical Western epics from Homer to James Joyce, were instrumental in his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. His narrative poem Tiepolo’s Hound (2000), loosely drawn from the life of Camille Pissarro, is illustrated with twenty-six of Walcott’s own watercolor and oil paintings.