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What the Twilight Says
     

What the Twilight Says

by Derek Walcott
 

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The first collection of essays by the Nobel laureate.

Derek Walcott has been publishing essays in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and elsewhere for more than twenty years. What the Twilight Says collects these pieces to form a volume of remarkable elegance, concision, and brilliance. It includes Walcott's moving and insightful

Overview

The first collection of essays by the Nobel laureate.

Derek Walcott has been publishing essays in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and elsewhere for more than twenty years. What the Twilight Says collects these pieces to form a volume of remarkable elegance, concision, and brilliance. It includes Walcott's moving and insightful examinations of the paradoxes of Caribbean culture, his Nobel lecture, and his reckoning of the work and significance of such poets as Robert Lowell, Joseph Brodsky, Robert Frost, Les Murray, and Ted Hughes, and of prose writers such as V. S. Naipaul and Patrick Chamoiseau. On every subject he takes up, Walcott the essayist brings to bear the lyric power and syncretic intelligence that have made him one of the major poetic voices of our time.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“There is no one writing in English at present who can join power with delicacy the way Walcott can.” —Sven Birkerts, The New Republic

“Walcott is a kingfisher critic, with flashing insights, an original who writes a profound, poetic prose . . . Derek Walcott's words go from strength to strength.” —Paula Burnett, The Times (London)

...[A] densely poetic exploration of one heralded Caribbean writer's musings about other writers — heralded, Caribbean or otherwise.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In essays originally published between 1970 and 1997, Walcott, winner of a Nobel prize in 1992 for his poetry and plays (Omeros, The Bounty), engages with literature, politics and their intersection. This is Walcott's first prose collection but the writing here is so intense that it threatens to disintegrate into lyric; in fact, the pieces deserve to be read aloud for their finely wrought metaphors, their intelligent, conversational observations and the beauty of their sound. Brilliant insights come suddenly, even unexpectedly, as in the aside that "reading [Wallace] Stevens is like having Chocolate for breakfast." Most of the essays are considerations of a wide range of writers such as Patrick Chamoiseau, Joseph Brodsky and Ernest Hemingway. The remaining few, including the Nobel prize address, "The Antilles: Fragments of an Epic Memory," are intense meditations on the state of West Indian writing and culture. A recurring concern is the relation of the postcolonial writer to the imperial language: Walcott, who now lives in both the United States and his native St. Lucia, describes "barbarian Bards" who "recite long passages of the imperial literature as if it were their own; and with a vigour, even a love, that brings a blush to the civilized cheek." But while he criticizes V.S. Naipaul for turning his back on the West Indies, and praises card-carrying anti-imperialists like C.L.R. James and Aime Cesaire, Walcott is no hard-liner. He is indignant toward those who reject any aspect of the West Indian heritage, whether it be African, Asian, indigenous American or European, acting on his own contention that poetry must not dwell on the scars of history, but should instead embrace the beauty and the possibilities of the present. (Nov.)
Paula Burnett
Walcott is a kingfisher critic, with flashing insights, an original who writes a profound, poetic prose . . . Derek Walcott's words go from strength to strength.
#151;The London Times
Sven Birkets
There is no one writing in English at present who can join power with delicacy the way Walcott can.
The New Republic
Kirkus Reviews
A poet's (poetical) prose about poetry.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374526832
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
10/28/1999
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
553,207
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Derek Walcott (1930-2017) was born in St. Lucia, the West Indies, in 1930. His Collected Poems: 1948-1984 was published in 1986, and his subsequent works include a book-length poem, Omeros (1990); a collection of verse, The Bounty (1997); and, in an edition illustrated with his own paintings, the long poem Tiepolo's Hound (2000). His numerous plays include The Haitian Trilogy (2001) and Walker and The Ghost Dance (2002). Walcott received the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1988 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

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