BORN: January 23, 1930, Castries, Saint Lucia
IDENTIFICATION: Postcolonial Caribbean poet whose work, dealing mainly with isolation, colonial history, and race, represents a fusion of African, European, and Caribbean influences.
SIGNIFICANCE: Derek Walcott, the first Caribbean writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature (1992), is prized in Europe and the Americas for his poetry and plays. Dividing his time between Trinidad, where he lives, and Massachusetts, where he teaches, Walcott is a writer enriched by the New and Old Worlds, both of which he cherishes. The European literature and culture that linger in the West Indies are alive in his writing, as is the French-English patois of his native Saint Lucia. He weaves together and quarrels with the cultures that intersect in his life. Though Walcott speaks English almost as a second language, he uses it far more forcefully and eloquently than many a native speaker.