Derek Walcott was born in 1930 in the town of Castries in Saint Lucia, one of the Windward Islands in the Lesser Antilles. Both his grandmothers were said to have been the descendants of slaves. His father, a Bohemian watercolourist, died when Derek and his twin brother, Roderick, were only a few years old. His mother ran the town’s Methodist school. After studying at St. Mary’s College in his native island and at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, Walcott moved in 1953 to Trinidad, where he has worked as theatre and art critic. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night (1962). In 1959, he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop which produced many of his early plays.
Walcott was an assiduous traveller to other countries but always, not least in his efforts to create an indigenous drama, felt himself deeply-rooted in Caribbean society with its cultural fusion of African, Asiatic and European elements. For many years he divided his time between Trinidad and Boston University, where he taught literature and creative writing.
Derek Walcott died in the early morning of Friday 17 March 2017 at his home near Gros Islet in St. Lucia. He was 87.
- Famous Poets & Poems page
- Lannan Foundation Reading & Conversation
- Nobel Laureate Page
- Paris Review Interview (1986)
- 25 Poems (1948)
- Epitaph for the Young. XII Cantos (1949)
- Poems (1951)
- In a Green Night: Poems 1948-1960 (1962)
- The Castaway and Other Poems (1965)
- The Gulf and Other Poems (1969)
- Another Life (1973)
- Sea Grapes (1976)
- The Star-Apple Kingdom (1979)
- Poems 1965-1980: The Castaway and Other Poems; The Gulf and Other Poems; Sea-Grapes; The Star-Apple Kingdom (1992)
- The Fortunate Traveller (1981)
- Midsummer (1984)
- Collected Poems 1948-1984 (1986)
- The Arkansas Testament (1987)
- Omeros (1990)
- The Bounty: Poems (1997)
- Tiepolo’s Hound (2000)
- The Prodigal (2006)
- Selected Poems. Ed. Edward Baugh (2007)
- White Egrets (2011)
- The Poetry Of Derek Walcott 1948-2013. Ed. Glyn Maxwell (2014)
- Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays (1971)
- The Joker of Seville and O Babylon!: Two Plays (1978)
- Remembrance and Pantomime (1980)
- Three Plays: The Last Carnival; Beef, No Chicken; A Branch of the Blue Nile (1986)
- The Odyssey: A Stage Version (1993)
- The Haitian Trilogy: Henri Christophe; Drums and Colours; The Haitian Earth (2002)
- Walker and The Ghost Dance (2002)
- Marie LaVeau; and, Steel (2012)
- The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory: The Nobel Lecture (1993)
- What the Twilight Says: Essays (1998)
- Another Life: Fully Annotated. 1973. Ed. Edward Baugh and Colbert Nepaulsingh. 2004. London & Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 2009.
- Baer, William. Conversations with Derek Walcott. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996.
- King, Bruce. Derek Walcott: A Caribbean Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.