Black is Beauty Caribbean Connection

Black is Beauty Caribbean Connection

Born on January 23rd 1930 Derek Walcott was regarded as one of the greatest Caribbean poets and playwrights of all time and is only the second Caribbean winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Walcott (along with his twin brother Roderick) spent his entire childhood in his place of birth, Castries St Lucia and was exposed to both pre and post-colonial Saint Lucia and the time period greatly inspired his writing.

But he was not always fascinated by the pen, he started out as an apprentice painter (evidenced by his illustrations in his book Tiepolo’s hound).  He fell in love with English however and was writing by the time he was 14.  By 19 he had published two poetry books with the help of his mother.  Caribbean poets of note began to pay attention to his writings and then came global acclaim.

The poet wrote practically all his life from his collection ‘In a Green Night: Poems 1948–1960’ published at 32 in 1962 to possibly his most celebrated work  ‘Omeros’ at 60 in 1990, and then White Egrets at 80 years old In 2010.   As he aged, the quality of his work remained excellent.  ‘Omeros’, described as a work of ‘incomparable ambitiousness’ by the Nobel Foundation, won him a spot on the New York Times Best Books of 1990 and White Egrets netted him the T.S. Eliot Prize.

He taught in both Trinidad and Boston at top universities, and wherever he went, Walcott strived to create a lasting creative legacy.  He is the founder behind both the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.  Walcott was the subject of some controversy later in life with two women on separate occasions accusing him of sexual assault, one of which was settled out of court.

His literary work endures regardless, the Nobel Foundation in awarding him said ‘In him West Indian culture has found its great poet.’

He died in 2017 in Saint Lucia.

  • PublishedFebruary 27, 2023

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