Derek Walcott, Nobel Prize-winning poet – obituary

Derek Walcott Credit: Effigie/Leemage/Writer Pictures

Derek Walcott, who has died aged 87, was a Caribbean poet whose work embraced the British and classical traditions that other post-colonial writers spurned.

His poetry has a global importance – he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992. Shortly after that, Columbus Square in his home town of Castries, St Lucia, was renamed Walcott Square, and his name is also commemorated by the Walcott acra, a salt fishcake served with a Creole sauce. It is fitting for a poet whose work would always be rooted in the St Lucia of his birth.

Walcott would use the characters of his childhood, and recast them as heroes on a Homeric scale. His long narrative poem Another Life (1973) made a bold start in this kind of writing, and he would bring it to fruition in his mature masterpiece Omeros (1990).

Derek Walcott's collected poems

He would write about islands, beaches, boats, castaways and ports. These became metaphors, sometimes for the solitary...

To continue reading this article

Start your free trial of Premium

  • Access all Premium articles 
  • Subscriber-only events 
  • Cancel any time

Free for 30 days

then only £2 per week

Access one Premium article per week

To continue reading this article log in to your Telegraph account. Or register now, it's free.
Registered customers can access one Premium article per week
Unlimited access to exclusive stories.
Half price for one year.
  • Access all Premium articles
  • Subscriber only events
  • Cancel any time
Free for 30 days, then just £1 per week