Introducing: Derek Walcott

Ebony, February 1993 | Go to article overview

Introducing: Derek Walcott


Black Poet Wins Literature Prize For Writings Evoking Caribbean Life

WHEN rumors swirled two years ago that West Indian poet Derek Walcott was certain to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, premature celebrants began popping corks on champagne bottles. The rumors were unfounded, but they added to Walcott's stature as a master poet whose works elicit the cultural diversity and the rhythmic cadences of his native Caribbean.

"Two years ago it was very difficult because people were saying I had won and it wasn't true," Walcott says in a lilting West Indian accent. "So, last year, I tried to put it out of my mind as much as possible. But, of course, as the time of the announcement drew near, I thought about it from time to time."

And so, when Walcott was awakened by a ringing telephone in his Brookline, Mass., home last October and heard a strange voice belonging to the secretary of Swedish Academy of Letters telling him that he had been awarded the coveted prize that carries with it a cash award of $985,000, he was overcome with feelings of relief and joy.

Walcott, who has lived in the United States since the late 1950s, divides his time between Boston University, where he teaches literature and creative writing, and Trinidad, his adopted home.

The Swedish Academy cited the 62-year-old native of St. Lucia, West Indies, for his "melodious and sensitive" style. "In his literary works, Walcott has laid a course for his own cultural environment, but through them, he speaks to each and every one of us," the citation reads. "In him, West Indian culture has found its great poet."

With the designation, Walcott becomes the first Black writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. His selection is being applauded by both Black and White members of the literati. Novelist Jamaica Kincaid, a native of Antigua, West Indies, says the historical importance of West Indians has finally been acknowledged. And exiled Soviet poet Joseph Brodsky, winner of the 1987 Nobel, who once complained that Walcott had been relegated to a regional status because of "an unwillingness to admit that the great poet of the English language is a Black man," has reason to cheer.

Walcott is deeply influenced by his experience of growing up on the isolated volcanic island in the Lesser Antilles. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Introducing: Derek Walcott
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.