Selected Poems, By Derek Walcott

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The Independent Culture

Born on St Lucia in 1930, Derek Walcott is – remarkably – one of two Nobel Prize-winners to hail from the tiny Caribbean speck that inspires some of the past century's most splendidly eloquent lyric verse. (The other is economist Arthur Lewis.)

Ranging from In a Green Night in 1962 to The Prodigal in 2005, this balanced selection from his 11 major collections (by Edward Baugh) is the perfect landing-stage for newcomers to Walcott's cornucopian poetry. Has a writer proudly rooted in islands and villages of "absolutely no importance" ever scaled the grandest heights of poetry with such to-the-manor-born magnificence?

But, amid all this surging and cascading beauty, the waves of poverty and exile still crash on his beloved native shores.

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