Derek Walcott

1930–2017
Derek Walcott

Nobel-prize winner Derek Walcott was born on the island of Saint Lucia. He published his first poem, a 44-line poem in blank verse, in the local newspaper at the age of 14. At 19 he self-published two books, borrowing $200 to print his first collection, 25 Poems, which he distributed on street corners. He would go on to publish over 20 collections of poetry and became one of the leading literary voices of the Carribean. Walcott’s poetry often addresses his English and West Indian ancestry, and resounds with Island images while remaining under the influence of William Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Among his many honors, Walcott was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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