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Derek Walcott Biography | Poet

Photo of Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott is an esteemed poet and playwright that has been recognized for winning some of top awards in literature. He was born on January 23, 1930 in Castries, Saint Lucia. He is also a professor and currently teaches at the University of Essex. Walcott’s 1990 Homeric epic poem Omeros is arguably his greatest achievement throughout his career up to this point. He has produced dozens of poetry collections, multiple plays and has authored many other books. As a result, he is one of the most decorated poets of this era.

Walcott’s Educational History

Walcott was a bright young man at a very early age. He studied to become a writer and had his first poem published at the young age of 14. By the time he was 19, he already had published two poetry collections, but he had to have his mom pay for the publishing since he was still in school and didn’t have any money. However, he was able to make enough money from that poem to pay her back quickly.

He eventually went to college and studied at the University College of the West Indies in Jamaica.

The Family Life of Derek Walcott

Walcott always had the support of his family, even in tough times. His mother helped pay for his publishing when he couldn’t afford it, even when she could barely afford it herself as well. Walcott never got to meet his father since he died before he was born. Walcott has a twin brother, who is a playwright as well.

Walcott loved to learn from others. He even started learning to become a painter at a young age before studying writing and literature.

He never had much luck with marriages. He has been married three times and all of them have ended in a divorce.

Major Achievements in Walcott’s Life

After college, Walcott moved to Trinidad where he began his teaching career. He has traveled the world throughout his life and a lot of his writing influences come from what he sees throughout his travels.

He has spent most of his time among Saint Lucia, Boston and New York since his graduation. Many of Walcott’s critics say that he is one of the most unique writers and poets of this time, which is probably because of the travels that he has done throughout his lifetime. He has a unique way of bringing together his experiences and putting them into words.

Possibly his best work, Omeros, was given the honor of being one of the best books of 1990. Walcott has won more than a dozen distinguished awards throughout his career. Some of the notable awards include the Nobel Prize in Literature, W.H. Smith Literary Award, T.S. Eliot Prize, Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry and many others.

As with any work, though, not everyone has positive things to say about Walcott’s work. Some people even believe that Omeros was sloppy work, even though it received high honors. For the most part, Walcott has received a lot of praise for the majority of his work. It is unprecedented for a poet to have his pieces so highly regarded and not have many negative things said about it.

Even some of Walcott’s most critical people have positive things to say. He is highly regarded with his beautiful and philosophical style by many critics. As a result, many of his poems and works will always be remembered because they reach such a wide audience. The support and positive criticism that he has received throughout his career is truly remarkable.

Why Derek Walcott is Significant

Walcott’s work throughout his career has made him an honorary member of a couple of prestigious organizations, including the Institute of Arts and Letters. He is currently teaching poetry at the University of Essex, so he continues to make an impact in the literary world.

In addition to his excellence in poetry, Walcott also has several achievements as a playwright. He won the Obie Award for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain in 1971. More than twenty of his plays have been published throughout his career, and most were produced by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop.

His works are renowned by many people across the world and continue to be recognized and studied by critics. 

Derek Walcott: Poems | Best Poems | Short Poems | Quotes

Book: Shattered Sighs