'Homecomings without Home':
Representations of (Post)colonial nostos
(Homecoming) in the Lyric of Aimé Césaire
and Derek Walcott
The francophone island of Martinique and the predominantly anglophone island of St Lucia are situated in close proximity to each other in the Lesser Antilles—so close, in fact, that fishermen from both islands who come into frequent contact at sea manage to communicate in a French-based 'patois' with a minimum of linguistic codeswitching. While the fishermen have routinely and cheerfully ignored national boundaries (whether colonial or postcolonial) and have found in the creole language a means of transnational communication, the majority of the inhabitants of these adjacent islands in the archipelago cherish the illusion of radical cultural difference.
Following the lead of the Caribbean fishermen in their disregard for borders both political and cultural, I propose to navigate the thematic waterways that unite four exquisite lyric compositions produced in the region: Cahier d'un retour au pays natal and 'Spirales' by the Martinican Aimé Césaire, and 'Homecoming: Anse La Raye' and Omeros by the St Lucian Nobel laureate Derek Walcott—a group of compositions that are demonstrably indebted in regard to their cardinal motifs to Homeric archetypes, especially those ultimately derivative of the Odyssey. A comprehensive analysis of major Homeric motifs shared between the two lengthier, more intricate