Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott is the author of several collections of poems, including The Star-Apple Kingdom and The Fortunate Traveller. The poem published here forms part of Midsummer, a long verse sequence, which Faber is bringing out next summer.

Poem: ‘Militia’

Derek Walcott, 17 November 1983

I heard them marching the leaf-wet roads of my head, the sucked vowels of a syntax trampled to mud, a division of dictions, one troop black, barefooted, the other in redcoats bright as their sovereign’s blood. One fought for a queen, the other was chained in her service, but both, in bitterness, travelled the same road. Our occupation and the Army of Occupation are born enemies, but...


Ian Sansom, 11 December 1997

They call him Mister Bombastic: ‘Because he is well capable of rhetoric and flourish, he too often allows these two-edged gifts to deflect him from a real, vivid self into a bombastic...

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Paradise Lost

Nicholas Everett, 11 July 1991

During the 18th and 19th centuries verse surrendered its longer discursive and narrative forms to prose and confined itself more and more to the short lyric and the sequence of short lyrics. Much...

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John Kerrigan, 13 October 1988

August is the cruellest month, breeding tailbacks on the Dover Road and logjams in every departure lounge. Travel reverts to travail, stirring dull roots in trepalium – that classical...

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Tropical Storms

Blake Morrison, 6 September 1984

Johnson’s Imlac, urging that the poet neglect the ‘minuter discriminations’ of the tulip leaf in favour of ‘general properties’, has been unpopular for two hundred...

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Beach Poets

Blake Morrison, 16 September 1982

A more sophisticated version of Larkin’s cry ‘Foreign poetry? No!’ is the belief that the poetry of certain parts of the world (Eastern Europe, for example) is intrinsically...

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The Pain of History

Stephen Brook, 19 February 1981

Derek Walcott is now 50 years old, but there is none of the placidity or mellowing of middle age in The Star-Apple Kingdom. If Naipaul is the great novelist of the colonial experience, Walcott...

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