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By Jorge Mejía Peralta (Flickr: IMG_1050poesia) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons Derek Walcott (1930- ) published his first poem at the age of just 14 in a local paper that was circulated on the Caribbean island of his birth, Saint Lucia. This island falls within the Windward Islands and, as an ex-British colony, is part of the Anglophone Carribbean. Walcott's hereditary make-up reflects these complex historical pasts - he had two white grandfathers and two black grandmothers, and he is subsequently of both African and European descent. Walcott's father, Warwick, was well-versed in English literature and was himself an artist - a watercolour painter. This adoption of a European cultural heritage, alongside his African ancestry, means that the creolized identity pervasive in the Caribbean becomes one of Walcott's central concerns. Both his poetry and plays, written almost completely in English, though with some French scattered throughout, interrogate these complexities. At the age of just 19 Walcott self-published two collections of poems, 25 Poems (1948) and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949), and they both excapsulate two more key thematic strands of Walcott's...
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Jason Allen offers a comparative discussion of two important Caribbean poets and playwrights,...
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Catherine Brown, Lecturer in English Literature, compares West Indian writers Derek Walcott and...