The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

March 18, 2007

Derek Walcott

WalcottDerek Walcott, winner of the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature, was born in 1930 in St. Lucia, Windward Islands, the West Indies. He graduated from the University of the West Indies, and in 1957 was awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation to study the American theater. He is the founder of the Trinidad Theater Workshop, and his plays have been produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, and the Negro Ensemble Company. In 1969 he received the Eugene O’Neill Foundation–Wesleyan University Fellowship for playwrights. He has published five books of plays with Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Dream on Monkey Mountain won the Obie Award for distinguished foreign play of 1971.

Mr. Walcott’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Kenyon Review, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, London Magazine, Antaeus, and other periodicals. He has published eleven books of poetry with FSG, including Selected Poems (1964), Collected Poems 1948-1984 (1986), The Arkansas Testament (1987), Omeros (1990), The Bounty (1997), Tiepolo’s Hound (2000), and The Prodigal (2004).  Mr. Walcott’s Collected Poems: 1948–1984 won the 1986 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry. 

Derek Walcott has won the Guinness Award for Poetry, a Royal Society of Literature Award, the Cholmondeley Prize, the New Statesman’s Jock Campbell Award, and the Welsh Arts Council International Writers Prize. In 1981 Mr. Walcott was a recipient of a five-year fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation. He is an Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Mr. Walcott was awarded the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in 1988. The Antilles: Fragments of Epic Memory, his Nobel lecture, was published by FSG in 1992. FSG has also published a collection of essays, Homage to Robert Frost (1996), which Mr. Walcott co-authored with Joseph Brodsky and Seamus Heaney, and What the Twilight Says, his first collection of essays, in 1999. In 2002 FSG published two collections of Mr. Walcott’s plays: The Haitian Trilogy and Walker and The Ghost Dance. A new Selected Poems was released in February 2007.

Mr. Walcott divides his time between his home in St. Lucia and New York. During the academic year he teaches at Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

You can read more about Derek Walcott here, and read all blog posts about him here.