The poet and playwright Derek Walcott, who moulded the language and forms of the western canon to his own purposes for more than half a century, has died aged 87.
His monumental poetry, such as his 1990 epic Omeros, a Caribbean reimagining of The Odyssey, secured him an international reputation which gained him the Nobel prize in 1992. Walcott also had an accomplished theatrical career, being the writer and director of more than 80 plays that often explored the problems of Caribbean identity against the backdrop of racial and political strife.
Writing in the New York Times, William Grimes described Walcott’s work as “intricately metaphorical poetry” that “captured the physical beauty of the Caribbean, the harsh legacy of colonialism and the complexities of living and writing in two cultural worlds”.
Sadly, I knew little about Walcott or his work. This talk was both informative and a profound joy to listen to. I’ll be returning to it regularly.