A tribute to Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott. Photo: Nigel Parry.
Derek Walcott. Photo: Nigel Parry.

We are sad to report the death of Nobel laureate, poet and playwright Derek Walcott (23 January 1930 – 17 March 2017).

Walcott’s 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature was one of the many honours he collected over the course of a glittering career. He won a MacArthur Foundation ‘genius’ award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, the inaugural OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the 2011 T.S. Eliot Prize for his collection White Egrets (Faber) and the Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award in 2015. He was Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from 2010 to 2013.

His latest collection Paramin (Faber), a collaboration with the artist Peter Doig, is reviewed by Karen McCarthy Woolf in the spring 2017 issue of The Poetry Review, published on 29 March. McCarthy Woolf writes: “Both Doig and Walcott are resident in the Caribbean: Walcott in his native St Lucia and Doig in Trinidad. Both have amplified and expanded the ways in which the postcolonial landscape is portrayed in a modern context and Walcott’s legacy is one that has enriched the language and discourse through which the reader might embrace the region’s history and resilience as a hybridised environment.”

“Very sad to hear about the death of Derek Walcott; first read his work when I was a teenager trying to understand how poetry might work” – Ian McMillan, Vice President, The Poetry Society.

A full-length obituary has been published by The Guardian.

17 March 2017.