Sir Derek Alton Walcott, KCSL, OBE, OCC (23 January 1930 – 17 March 2017) was a Saint Lucian poet and playwright. He received the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature. He was the University of Alberta's first distinguished scholar in residence, where he taught undergraduate and graduate writing courses. He also served as Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex from 2010 to 2013. His works include the Homeric epic poem Omeros (1990), which many critics view "as Walcott's major achievement." In addition to winning the Nobel Prize, Walcott received many literary awards over the course of his career, including an Obie Award in 1971 for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Queen's Medal for Poetry, the inaugural OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, the 2011 T. S. Eliot Prize for his book of poetry White Egrets and the Griffin Trust For Excellence in Poetry Lifetime Recognition Award in 2015.
Sir Derek Walcott
Walcott at an honorary dinner in Amsterdam, 20 May 2008
|Born||Derek Alton Walcott|
23 January 1930
Castries, Saint Lucia
|Died||17 March 2017 87) (aged|
Cap Estate, Gros-Islet, Saint Lucia
|Occupation||Poet, playwright, professor|
|Genre||Poetry and plays|
|Literary movement||Postcolonialism, Postmodernism|
|Notable works||Dream on Monkey Mountain (1967), Omeros (1990), White Egrets (2007)|
|Notable awards||Nobel Prize in Literature |
T. S. Eliot Prize
Early life and childhood
Walcott was born and raised in Castries, Saint Lucia, in the West Indies, the son of Alix (Maarlin) and Warwick Walcott. He had a twin brother, the playwright Roderick Walcott, and a sister, Pamela Walcott. 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. His father was a civil servant and a talented painter. He died when Walcott and his brother were one year old, and were left to be raised by their mother. Walcott was brought up in Methodist schools. His mother, who was a teacher at a Methodist elementary school, provided her children with an environment where their talents could be nurtured. Walcott's family was part of a minority Methodist community, who felt overshadowed by the dominant Catholic culture of the island established during French colonial rule.
As a young man Walcott trained as a painter, mentored by Harold Simmons, whose life as a professional artist provided an inspiring example for him. Walcott greatly admired Cézanne and Giorgione and sought to learn from them. Walcott's painting was later exhibited at the Anita Shapolsky Gallery in New York City, along with the art of other writers, in a 2007 exhibition named The Writer's Brush: Paintings and Drawing by Writers.
He studied as a writer, becoming "an elated, exuberant poet madly in love with English" and strongly influenced by modernist poets such as T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Walcott had an early sense of a vocation as a writer. In the poem "Midsummer" (1984), he wrote:
At 14, Walcott published his first poem, a Miltonic, religious poem, in the newspaper The Voice of St Lucia. An English Catholic priest condemned the Methodist-inspired poem as blasphemous in a response printed in the newspaper. By 19, Walcott had self-published his first two collections with the aid of his mother, who paid for the printing: 25 Poems (1948) and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949). He sold copies to his friends and covered the costs. He later commented:
I went to my mother and said, "I’d like to publish a book of poems, and I think it's going to cost me two hundred dollars." She was just a seamstress and a schoolteacher, and I remember her being very upset because she wanted to do it. 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.
After graduation, Walcott moved to Trinidad in 1953, where he became a critic, teacher and journalist. He founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959 and remained active with its board of directors.
Exploring the Caribbean and its history in a colonialist and post-colonialist context, his collection In a Green Night: Poems 1948–1960 (1962) attracted international attention. His play Dream on Monkey Mountain (1970) was produced on NBC-TV in the United States the year it was published. Makak is the protagonist in this play; and "Makak‟s condition represents the condition of the colonized natives under the oppressive forces of the powerful colonizers". In 1971 it was produced by the Negro Ensemble Company off-Broadway in New York City; it won an Obie Award that year for "Best Foreign Play". The following year, Walcott won an OBE from the British government for his work.
He was hired as a teacher by Boston University in the United States, where he founded the Boston Playwrights' Theatre in 1981. That year he also received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in the United States. Walcott taught literature and writing at Boston University for more than two decades, publishing new books of poetry and plays on a regular basis. Walcott retired from his position at Boston University in 2007. He became friends with other poets, including the Russian expatriate Joseph Brodsky, who lived and worked in the U.S. after being exiled in the 1970s, and the Irishman Seamus Heaney, who also taught in Boston.
Walcott's epic poem Omeros (1990), which loosely echoes and refers to characters from the Iliad, has been critically praised as his "major achievement." The book received praise from publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times Book Review, which chose Omeros as one of its "Best Books of 1990".
Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, the second Caribbean writer to receive the honour after Saint-John Perse, who was born in Guadeloupe, received the award in 1960. 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". He won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2004.
His later poetry collections include Tiepolo's Hound (2000), illustrated with copies of his watercolors; The Prodigal (2004), and White Egrets (2010), which received the T.S. Eliot Prize and the 2011 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
In 2008, Walcott gave the first Cola Debrot Lectures In 2009, Walcott began a three-year distinguished scholar-in-residence position at the University of Alberta. In 2010, he became Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex.
As a part of St Lucia's Independence Day celebrations, in February 2016, he became one of the first knights of the Order of Saint Lucia.
Allegations of sexual harassment
In 1982 a Harvard sophomore accused Walcott of sexual harassment in September 1981. She alleged that after she refused a sexual advance from him, she was given the only C in the class. In 1996 a student at Boston University sued Walcott for sexual harassment and "offensive sexual physical contact". The two reached a settlement.
In 2009, Walcott 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 1981 and 1996.
Ruth Padel, also a leading candidate, was elected to the post. Within days, The Daily Telegraph reported that she had alerted journalists to the harassment cases. Under severe media and academic pressure, Padel resigned. Padel was the first woman to be elected to the Oxford post, and some journalists attributed the criticism of her to misogyny and a gender war at Oxford. 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 Alvarez, published a letter of support for Walcott in The Times Literary Supplement, and criticized the press furore. Other commentators suggested that both poets were casualties of the media interest in an internal university affair, because the story "had everything, from sex claims to allegations of character assassination". Simon Armitage and other poets expressed regret at Padel's resignation.
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 vocation, a religious vocation." Describing his writing process, he wrote: "the body feels it is melting into what it has seen… the 'I' not being important. That is the ecstasy...Ultimately, it's what Yeats says: 'Such a sweetness flows into the breast that we laugh at everything and everything we look upon is blessed.' That’s always there. It’s a benediction, a transference. It’s gratitude, really. The more of that a poet keeps, the more genuine his nature." He also notes, "if one thinks a poem is coming on...you do make a retreat, a withdrawal into some kind of silence that cuts out everything around you. What you’re taking on is really not a renewal of your identity but actually a renewal of your anonymity."
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. Through poetry he also explores the paradoxes and complexities of this legacy.
In his 1970 essay "What the Twilight Says: An Overture", discussing art and theatre in his native region (from Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays), Walcott reflects on the West Indies as colonized space. 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. He states: "We are all strangers here... 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.
Walcott notes of growing up in West Indian culture:
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 elation 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 Defoe, a Dickens, a Richardson.
Walcott identified as "absolutely a Caribbean writer", a pioneer, helping to make sense of the legacy of deep colonial damage. In such poems as "The Castaway" (1965) and in the play Pantomime (1978), he uses the metaphors of shipwreck and Crusoe to describe the culture and what is required of artists after colonialism and slavery: both the freedom and the challenge to begin again, salvage the best of other cultures and make something new. 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 1990 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 Homer), and 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 composition), and 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 Lisbon, London, Dublin, Rome, and Toronto.
Composed in a variation on terza rima, the work explores the themes that run throughout Walcott's oeuvre: the beauty of the islands, the colonial burden, the fragmentation of Caribbean identity, and the role of the poet in a post-colonial world.
Nobel Prize in Literature
Derek Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, two years after publishing the epic poem Omeros. He was known for writing about "the harsh legacy of colonialism and the complexities of living and writing in two cultural worlds." His poetic voice reflected a blend of his ear for the English language and his sense of his own people.
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." It was Walcott's ability to be more than just "exotic" that brought his work critical attention. 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." This ability shows the importance of multiculturalism and literary mastery to the Swedish Academy. 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. [is] Survival" because "all of the Antilles, every island, is an effort of memory; every mind, every racial biography culminating in amnesia and fog." He encompasses the diasporic identity found in Caribbean Literature by looking at how insignificant he feels because he cannot, alone, fully bring together a cultural identity.
Criticism and praise
Walcott's work has received praise from major poets including Robert Graves, who wrote that Walcott "handles English with a closer understanding of its inner magic than most, if not any, of his contemporaries", and Joseph Brodsky, who praised Walcott's work, writing: "For almost forty years his throbbing and relentless lines kept arriving in the English language like tidal waves, coagulating into an archipelago of poems without which the map of modern literature would effectively match wallpaper. He gives us more than himself or 'a world'; he gives us a sense of infinity embodied in the language." Walcott noted that he, Brodsky, and the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who all taught in the United States, were a band of poets "outside the American experience".
The poetry critic William Logan critiqued Walcott's work in a New York Times book review of Walcott's Selected Poems. While he praised Walcott's writing in Sea Grapes and The Arkansas Testament, Logan had mostly negative things to say about Walcott's poetry, calling Omeros "clumsy" and Another Life "pretentious." He concluded with "No living poet has written verse more delicately rendered or distinguished than Walcott, though few individual poems seem destined to be remembered."
Most reviews of Walcott's work are more positive. For instance, in The New Yorker review of The Poetry of Derek Walcott, Adam Kirsch had high praise for Walcott's oeuvre, describing his style in the following manner:
By combining the grammar of vision with the freedom of metaphor, Walcott produces a beautiful style that is also a philosophical style. People perceive the world on dual channels, Walcott’s verse suggests, through the senses and through the mind, and each is constantly seeping into the other. 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 such as Tiepolo's Hound. Kirsch also explores the post-colonial politics in Walcott's work, calling him "the postcolonial writer par excellence". Kirsch calls the early poem "A Far Cry from Africa" a turning point in Walcott's development as a poet. 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 Midsummer to be his best book.
His poetry, as spoken performance, appears briefly in the sampled sounds in the music album of the group Dreadzone. Their track entitled "Captain Dread" from the album Second Light incorporates the fourth verse of Walcott's 1990 poem "The Schooner Flight".
In 2013 Dutch filmmaker Ida Does released Poetry is an Island, a feature documentary film about Walcott's life and the ever-present influence of his birthplace of St Lucia.
In 1954 Walcott married Fay Moston, a secretary, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1959. They had a son, the St Lucian painter Peter Walcott. Walcott married a second time to Margaret Maillard in 1962, who worked as an almoner in a hospital, and together they had two daughters, Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw and Anna Walcott-Hardy, before divorcing in 1976. In 1976, Walcott married for a third time, to actress Norline Metivier; they divorced in 1993. His companion until his death was 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, on 17 March 2017. He was 87. He was given a state funeral on Saturday, 25 March, with a service at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Castries and burial at Morne Fortune.
In 1993, a public square and park located in central Castries, Saint Lucia, was named Derek Walcott Square.
The Saint Lucia National Trust acquired Walcott's childhood home at 17 Chaussée Road, Castries, in November 2015, renovating it before opening it to the public as Walcott House in January 2016.
In January 2020 the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in St. Lucia announced that Walcott's books on Caribbean Literature and poetry have been donated to its Library.
Awards and honours
- 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
List of works
- Works by or about Derek Walcott in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Works by Derek Walcott at Open Library
- Poetry collections
- 1948: 25 Poems
- 1949: Epitaph for the Young: Xll Cantos
- 1951: Poems
- 1962: In a Green Night: Poems 1948—60
- 1964: Selected Poems
- 1965: The Castaway and Other Poems
- 1969: The Gulf and Other Poems
- 1973: Another Life
- 1976: Sea Grapes
- 1979: The Star-Apple Kingdom
- 1981: Selected Poetry
- 1981: The Fortunate Traveller
- 1983: The Caribbean Poetry of Derek Walcott and the Art of Romare Bearden
- 1984: Midsummer
- 1986 Collected Poems, 1948–1984, featuring "Love After Love"
- 1987: The Arkansas Testament
- 1990: Omeros
- 1997: The Bounty
- 2000: Tiepolo's Hound, includes Walcott's watercolors
- 2004: The Prodigal
- 2007: Selected Poems (edited, selected, and with an introduction by Edward Baugh)
- 2010: White Egrets
- 2014: The Poetry of Derek Walcott 1948–2013
- 2016: Morning, Paramin (illustrated by Peter Doig)
- 1950: Henri Christophe: A Chronicle in Seven Scenes
- 1952: Harry Dernier: A Play for Radio Production
- 1953: Wine of the Country
- 1954: The Sea at Dauphin: A Play in One Act
- 1957: Ione
- 1958: Drums and Colours: An Epic Drama
- 1958: Ti-Jean and His Brothers
- 1966: Malcochon: or, Six in the Rain
- 1967: Dream on Monkey Mountain
- 1970: In a Fine Castle
- 1974: The Joker of Seville
- 1974: The Charlatan
- 1976: O Babylon!
- 1977: Remembrance
- 1978: Pantomime
- 1980: The Joker of Seville and O Babylon!: Two Plays
- 1982: The Isle Is Full of Noises
- 1984: The Haitian Earth
- 1986: Three Plays: The Last Carnival, Beef, No Chicken, and A Branch of the Blue Nile
- 1991: Steel
- 1993: Odyssey: A Stage Version
- 1997: The Capeman (book and lyrics, both in collaboration with Paul Simon)
- 2002: Walker and The Ghost Dance
- 2011: Moon-Child
- 2014: O Starry Starry Night
- Other books
- 1990: The Poet in the Theatre, Poetry Book Society (London)
- 1993: The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory Farrar, Straus (New York)
- 1996: Conversations with Derek Walcott, University of Mississippi (Jackson, MS)
- 1996: (With Joseph Brodsky and Seamus Heaney) Homage to Robert Frost, Farrar, Straus (New York)
- 1998: What the Twilight Says (essays), Farrar, Straus (New York, NY)
- 2002: Walker and Ghost Dance, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY)
- 2004: Another Life: Fully Annotated, Lynne Rienner Publishers (Boulder, CO)
- "Derek Walcott – Biographical". Nobel Foundation. 1992. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Derek Walcott 1930–2017". Chicago, IL: Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Derek Walcott wins OCM Bocas Prize" Archived 15 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Trinidad Express Newspapers, 30 April 2011.
- Charlotte Higgins, "TS Eliot prize goes to Derek Walcott for 'moving and technically flawless' work", The Guardian, 24 January 2011.
- Mayer, Jane (9 February 2004). "The Islander". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
- Edward Hirsch, "Derek Walcott, The Art of Poetry No. 37", The Paris Review, Issue 101, Winter 1986.
- Puchner, Martin. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 4th ed., f, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.
- Grimes, William (17 March 2017). "Derek Walcott, Poet and Nobel Laureate of the Caribbean, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Harold Simmons". St Lucia: Folk Research Centre.
- "The Writer's Brush". CBS News. 16 December 2007.
- "The Writer's Brush; September 11 – October 27, 2007". Anita Shapolsky Gallery. New York City. Archived from the original on 1 February 2015.
- "Derek Walcott", Academy of American Poets.
- British Puchner, Martin. The Norton Anthology of World Literature. 4th ed., f, W.W. Norton & Company, 2013.Council. "Derek Walcott – British Council Literature". contemporarywriters.com. Archived from the original on 4 January 2011.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Als, Hilton (17 March 2017). "Derek Walcott – a mighty poet has fallen". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- Islam, Md. Manirul.(April' 2019). "Derek Walcott's Dream on Monkey Mountain: A Complicated Presentation of Postcolonial Condition of the West Indians". New Academia. 8(2).
- Obie Award Listing: Dream on Monkey Mountain, InfoPlease
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 December 2010. Retrieved 13 April 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Editors' Choice: The Best Books of 1990". The New York Times. 2 December 1990. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- "Derek Walcott, 2004 – Lifetime Achievement", Winners – Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.
- "Derek Walcott's Tiepolo’s Hound", essay, Academy of American Poets, 18 February 2005.
- "Derek Walcott wins OCM Bocas Prize". Trinidad Express. 30 April 2011. Archived from the original on 15 March 2016. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
- "Nobelprijs winnaar Derek Walcott bezoekt Amsterdam". Spui 25 (Academic Podium of University of Amsterdam) (in Dutch). Retrieved 9 June 2020.
- "Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott is new Professor of Poetry". University of Essex. 11 December 2009. Archived from the original on 2 May 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2010.
- "List of awards to be given on Independence Day". St Lucia News Online. 22 February 2016. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
- Sun, Angela A. (4 June 2007). "Poet Accused of Harassment". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Dziech, Billie Wright; Weiner, Linda (1990). The Lecherous Professor: Sexual Harassment on Campus (second ed.). Urbana. IL: University of Illinois Press. pp. 29–32. ISBN 978-0-252-06118-9.
- Griffiths, Sian; Grimston, Jack (10 May 2009). "Sex pest file gives Oxford poetry race a nasty edge". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- Woods, Richard (24 May 2009). "Call for Oxford poet to resign after sex row". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
- "Poetic justice as Padel steps down". Channel 4 News. 26 May 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- Khan, Urmee; Eden, Richard (24 May 2009). "Ruth Padel under pressure to resign Oxford post over emails about rival poet Derek Walcott". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 24 May 2009.
- "Oxford professor of poetry Ruth Padel resigns". The Guardian. London. Press Association. 25 May 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Lovell, Rebecca (26 May 2009). "Hay festival diary: Ruth Padel talks about the poetry professorship scandal". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 26 May 2009.
- Libby Purves, "A familiar reek of misogyny and mistrust", The Times, 18 May 2009.
- Alibhai Brown, Yasmin (25 May 2009). "A Male Poet Wouldn't Have Been Blamed for Rough Tactics". The Independent.
- Halford, Macy (7 January 2009). "The Book Bench: Oxford's Gender Trouble". The New Yorker. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
- Gardner, Suzanne (26 May 2009). "Ruth Padel resigns, but the 'gender war' rages on". Quill and Quire. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
- Al Alvarez, Alan Brownjohn, Carmen Bugan, David Constantine, Elizabeth Cook, Robert Conquest, Jonty Driver, Seamus Heaney, Jenny Joseph, Grevel Lindop, Patrick McGuinness, Lucy Newlyn, Bernard O'Donoghue, Michael Schmidt, Jon Stallworthy, Michael Suarez, Don Thomas, Anthony Thwaite, "Oxford Professor of Poetry," The Times Literary Supplement, 3 June 2009, p. 6.
- "Oxford Professor of Poetry", ENotes.
- "Newsnight: From the web team". BBC. May 2009. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
- Robert McCrum (31 May 2009). "Who dares to follow in Ruth Padel's footsteps?". The Observer. London. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
- Suk, Jeannie (17 May 2001). Postcolonial Paradoxes in French Caribbean Writing: Césaire, Glissant, Condé. Clarendon Press. ISBN 9780191584404.
- Nidhi, Mahajan (1 January 2015). "Cultural Tensions and Hybrid Identities in Derek Walcott's Poetry". Inquiries Journal. 7 (9).
- "Walcott: Caribbean literary colossus". Barbados Today. St Michael, Barbados. 25 February 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- Lefkowitz, Mary (7 October 1990). "Bringing Him Back Alive". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- Morrison, James V. (1 January 1999). "Homer Travels to the Caribbean: Teaching Walcott's "Omeros"". The Classical World. 93 (1): 83–99. doi:10.2307/4352373. JSTOR 4352373.
- Patrick Bixby, "Derek Walcott", essay: Spring 2000, Emory University. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
- Breslow, Stephen. "Derek Walcott: 1992 Nobel Laureate in Literature". World Literature Today, vol. 67, no. 2, 1993, pp. 267–271, doi:10.2307/40149065.
- "Derek Walcott – Nobel Lecture: The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory". Nobel Foundation. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web.
- Robert D. Hamner, "Introduction", Critical Perspectives on Derek Walcott (Three Continents, 1993), Lynne Rienner, 1997, p. 1.
- "Derek Walcott". poets.org. 4 February 2014.
- Logan, William (8 April 2007). "The Poet of Exile". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
- Kirsch, Adam (3 February 2014). "Full Fathom Five". The New Yorker. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
- Charles, Dee Lundy (19 May 2014). "It's Past Time For Walcott's Poetry Island". St Lucia Star. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- El Gammal-Ortiz, Sharif (13 August 2015). "Film: Review Of "Poetry Is An Island"". Repeating Islands. Retrieved 11 April 2017.
- "Sir Derek loses battle with kidney disease | World mourns", Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 18 March 2017.
- The International Who's Who 2004. Psychology Press. 2003. p. 1760. ISBN 9781857432176. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- Haynes, Leanne (2 August 2013). "Interview: Peter Walcott". ARC Magazine. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- Wroe, Nicholas (2 September 2000). "The laureate of St Lucia". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "Derek Walcott has died". St. Lucia Times. 17 March 2017. Archived from the original on 18 March 2017. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- "World bids farewell to Derek Walcott", Jamaica Observer, 25 March 2017.
- "Derek Walcott laid to rest", St. Lucia Times, 27 March 2017.
- Luntta, Karl; Agate, Nick (2003). The Rough Guide to St Lucia. Rough Guides. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-8582-8916-8.
- Bishop, Stan, "Walcott House Opens – Nobel Laureate Says He’s Thankful", The Voice, 28 January 2016.
- "Donation Of Walcott Library To SALCC Library", Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, 30 January 2020.
- Chidi, Sylvia Lovina (2004). The Greatest Black Achievers in History. Lulu. pp. 34–37. ISBN 9781291909333. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- "2015 – Derek Walcott". Oakville, Ontario: The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. 3 June 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- Baer, William, ed. Conversations with Derek Walcott. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996.
- Baugh, Edward, Derek Walcott. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
- Breslin, Paul, Nobody's Nation: Reading Derek Walcott. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. ISBN 0-226-07426-9
- Brown, Stewart, ed., The Art of Derek Walcott. Chester Springs, PA.: Dufour, 1991; Bridgend: Seren Books, 1992.
- Burnett, Paula, Derek Walcott: Politics and Poetics. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2001.
- Fumagalli, Maria Cristina, The Flight of the Vernacular: Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and the Impress of Dante. Amsterdam-New York: Rodopi, 2001.
- Fumagalli, Maria Cristina, Agenda 39:1–3 (2002–03), Special Issue on Derek Walcott. Includes Derek Walcott's "Epitaph for the Young" (1949), republished here in its entirety.
- Hamner, Robert D., Derek Walcott. Updated edition. Twayne's World Authors Series. TWAS 600. New York: Twayne, 1993.
- King, Bruce, Derek Walcott and West Indian Drama: "Not Only a Playwright But a Company": The Trinidad Theatre Workshop 1959–1993. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.
- King, Bruce, Derek Walcott, A Caribbean Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
- Müller, Timo (2016). "Forms of Exile: Experimental Self-Positioning in Postcolonial Caribbean Poetry". Atlantic Studies. 13 (4): 457–471. doi:10.1080/14788810.2016.1220790.
- Sarkar, Nirjhar. "Existence as self-making in Derek Walcott's The Sea at Dauphin". Anthurium. 14.2 (2018): 1–15.
- Terada, Rei, Derek Walcott's Poetry: American Mimicry. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1992.
- Thieme, John, Derek Walcott. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999.