The play Pantomime was written in by the prolific West Indian poet and playwright Derek Walcott. The short two-act play dissects the relationship between. 7 Derek Walcott -. Pantomime. Trinidad. Introduction. Long before he won the Nobel Prize for. Literature, Derek Walcott had earned a reputation as a. DEREK WALCOTT’S ”Pantomime,” now at the Hudson Guild, is a vaudeville show struggling to become a play. In a series of witty skits, Harry.

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He received the Nobel Prize in Literature. He also served as Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from to His works include the Homeric epic poem Omeroswhich many critics view “as Walcott’s major achievement. His family is of English, Dutch and African descent, reflecting the complex colonial history of the island that he explores in his poetry.

His mother, a teacher, loved the arts and often recited poetry around the house. As a young man Walcott trained as a painter, mentored by Harold Simmons, [8] whose life as a professional artist provided an inspiring example for him. Paintings and Drawing by Writers”. Dderek studied as a writer, becoming “an elated, exuberant poet madly in love with English” and strongly influenced by modernist poets such as T.

Eliot and Ezra Pound. In the poem “Midsummer”he wrote:. Forty years gone, in my island childhood, I felt that the gift of poetry had made me one of the chosen, that all experience was kindling to the fire of the Muse. An English Catholic priest condemned the Methodist-inspired poem as blasphemous in a response printed in the newspaper. He sold copies to his friends and covered the costs.

Somehow she got it—a lot of money for a woman to have found on her salary. She gave it to me, and I sent off to Trinidad and had the book printed. When the books came back I would sell them to friends. I made the money back. The influential Bajan poet Frank Collymore critically supported Walcott’s early work.

Pantomime | work by Walcott |

After graduation, Walcott moved to Trinidad inwhere he became a critic, teacher and journalist. Exploring the Caribbean and its history in a colonialist and post-colonialist context, his collection In a Green Night: Poems — attracted international attention. Walcott taught literature and writing at Boston University for more than two decades, publishing new books of dderek and plays on a regular basis.

Walcott retired from his position at Boston University in He became friends with other poets, including the Russian expatriate Joseph Brodskywho lived and worked in the U.

His epic poem Omeroswhich loosely echoes and refers to characters from the Iliadhas been critically praised “as Walcott’s major achievement. Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature inthe second Caribbean writer to receive the honour after Saint-John Persewho was born in Guadeloupereceived the award in The Nobel committee described Walcott’s work as “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment”.

His later poetry collections include Pantkmime Houndillustrated with copies of his watercolors; [18] The Prodigaland White Egretswhich received the T.

InWalcott began a three-year distinguished scholar-in-residence position at the University of Alberta. Inhe became Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex. In a Harvard sophomore accused Walcott of sexual harassment in September She alleged that after she refused a sexual advance from him, she was given the only C in the class. In a student at Boston University sued Walcott for sexual harassment and “offensive sexual physical contact”. The two reached a settlement.

InWalcott was a leading candidate for the position of Oxford Professor of Poetry. He withdrew his candidacy after reports of the accusations against him of sexual harassment from and When the media learned that pages from an American book on the topic were sent anonymously to a number of Oxford academics, this aroused their interest in the university decisions.


Ruth Padelalso a leading candidate, was elected to the post. Within days, The Daily Telegraph reported that she had alerted journalists to the harassment cases. They said that a male poet would not have been so criticized, as she had reported published information, not rumour.

Numerous respected poets, including Seamus Heaney and Al Alvarezpublished a letter of support for Walcott in The Times Literary Supplementand criticized the press furore. Methodism and spirituality have played a significant role from the beginning in Walcott’s work. He commented, “I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is a vocationa religious vocation.

That is the ecstasy Ultimately, it’s what Yeats says: The more of that a poet keeps, the more genuine his nature. Walcott said his writing was influenced by the work of the American poets, Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishopwho were also friends. He published more than twenty plays, the majority of which have been produced by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop and have also been widely staged elsewhere.

Many of them address, either directly or indirectly, the liminal status of the West Indies in the post-colonial period. In his essay “What the Twilight Says: He discusses the problems for an artist of a region with little in the way of truly indigenous forms, and with little national or nationalist identity. Our bodies think in one language and move in another”.

The epistemological effects of colonization inform plays such as Ti-Jean and his Brothers. Mi-Jean, one of the eponymous brothers, is shown to have much information, but to truly know nothing. Every line Mi-Jean recites is rote knowledge gained from the coloniser; he is unable to synthesize it or apply it to his life as a colonised person.

What we were deprived of was also our privilege. There was a great joy in making a world that so far, up to then, had been undefined My generation of West Indian writers has felt such a powerful wakcott at having the privilege of writing about places and people for the first time and, simultaneously, having behind them the tradition of knowing how well it can be done—by a Defoea Dickensa Richardson.

Walcott identified as “absolutely a Caribbean writer”, a pioneer, helping to make sense of the legacy of deep colonial damage. These images recur in later work as well. He writes, “If we continue to sulk and say, Look at what the slave-owner did, and so forth, we will never mature.

While we sit moping or writing morose poems and novels that glorify a non-existent past, then time passes us by. Walcott’s epic book-length poem Omeros was published in to critical acclaim. The poem very loosely echoes and references Homer and some of his major characters from The Iliad.

Some of the poem’s major characters include the island fishermen Achille and Hector, the retired English officer Major Plunkett and his wife Maud, the housemaid Helen, the blind man Seven Seas who symbolically represents Homerand the author himself.

Although the main narrative of the poem takes place on the island of St. Lucia, where Walcott was born and raised, Walcott also includes scenes from Brookline, Massachusetts where Walcott was living and teaching at the time of the poem’s compositionand the character Achille imagines a voyage from Africa onto a slave ship that is headed for the Americas; also, in Book Five of the poem, Walcott narrates some of his travel experiences in a variety of cities around the world, including LisbonLondon, DublinRome, and Toronto.

Composed in a variation on terza rimathe work explores the themes that run throughout Walcott’s oeuvre: Derek Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature intwo years after publishing the epic poem “Omeros. Stephen Breslow explained that he and the Swedish Academy chose Derek Walcott for the Nobel Laureate in Literature because his work had “a strong regional voice that transcends its topical locality, through the depth and breadth of its poetic resonance and through its global human implication.


Breslow explains that “Walcott has merged a profound, rhapsodic reverie upon his remote birthplace — its people, its landscape, and its history — with the central, classical tradition of Western civilization. Walcott’s works represent how different cultures can enrich one another to produce even more compelling works. In his Nobel acceptance speech, Walcott describes life on Antilles and what it means to discover identity.

He describes all of the “broken fragments” of his “diasporic” identity. People need books, he says, but they are not enough to encompass all that a culture is. Walcott says that “the visible poetry of the Antilles, then.

Walcott’s work has received praise from major poets including Robert Graveswho wrote that Walcott “handles English with a closer understanding of its inner magic than most, if not any, of his contemporaries”, [47] and Joseph Brodskywho praised Walcott’s work, writing: He gives us more than himself or ‘a world’; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language.

Most reviews of Walcott’s work are more positive. By combining the grammar of vision with the freedom of metaphor, Walcott produces a beautiful style that is also a philosophical style. The result is a state of perpetual magical thinking, a kind of Alice in Wonderland world where concepts have bodies and landscapes are always liable to get up and start talking. Kirsch calls Another Life Walcott’s “first major peak” and analyzes the painterly qualities of Walcott’s imagery from his earliest work through to later books like Tiepolo’s Hound.

He also explores the post-colonial politics in Walcott’s work, calling him “the postcolonial writer par excellence. Like Logan, Kirsch is critical of Omeros which he believes Walcott fails to successfully sustain over its entirety. Although Omeros is the volume of Walcott’s that usually receives the most critical praise, Kirsch believes that Midsummer is his best book.

His poetry, as spoken performance, appears briefly in the sampled sounds in the music album of the group Dreadzone. In Dutch filmmaker Ida Does released “Poetry is an Island”, a feature documentary film about Derek Walcott’s life and the ever-present influence of his birthplace of St Lucia.

Derek Walcott

In Walcott married Fay Moston, a secretary, but the marriage ended in divorce in Salcott had a son, the St Lucian painter Peter Walcott. Walcott married a second time to Margaret Maillard inwho worked as an almoner in a hospital, and together they had two daughters, Elizabeth, and Anna; they divorced in InWalcott married for a third time, to actress Norline Metivier divorced in He was survived by his longtime companion, Sigrid Nama, a former art gallery owner.

Walcott was also known for his passion for travelling to countries around the world. He split his time between New York, Boston, and St.

Lucia, and incorporated the influences of different areas into his pieces of work. Walcott died at his home in Cap Estate, St. Lucia, pantomome 17 March From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.