Sir Derek Alton Walcott (January 1930- March 2017) was an award-winning poet from Saint Lucia; born to parents who adored poetry and art, Derek and his twin brother Roderick (a playwright) seemed destined to be creative and expressive themselves.
Sadly Derek passed away in March 2017, but he has left an extensive legacy of poetry that gained much recognition through the decades. He wrote his first poem at 14 and, with help from his mother, he self-published his works, and eventually gained a scholarship to the University College of the West Indies.
Derek Walcott remarked how his writing was influenced by T.S Eliot and Ezra Pound, and his friends and contemporaries Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Walcott’s writing was heavily influenced by tensions and cultural themes from his post-colonial Caribbean upbringing, and these meaningful reflections brought him critical acclaim.
Award Winning Poet Derek Walcott’s Achievements:
1969 Cholmondeley Award
1971 Obie Award for Best Foreign Play (for Dream on Monkey Mountain)
1972 Officer of the Order of the British Empire
1981 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (“genius award”)
1988 Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry
1990 Arts Council of Wales International Writers Prize
1990 W. H. Smith Literary Award (for poetry Omeros)
1992 Nobel Prize in Literature
2004 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement
2008 Honorary doctorate from the University of Essex
2011 T. S. Eliot Prize (for poetry collection White Egrets)
2011 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (for White Egrets)
2015 Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award
2016 Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Lucia
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Content warning: Strong language and intense themes.
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