Sprite in Walcott

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An Assainment

on

A search for the spritself in Derek Walcott’s poetry.

Submitted by

Md Aminul Islam

MA in English

Batch:10th Roll:155

ID.No.:WUB07/12/10/155

Submitted To

Rakibul Hasan

Lecturer in English

WORLD UNIVERSITY OF BANGLADESH

WORLD UNIVERSITY OF BANGLADESH

An Assainment

on

A search for the spritself in Derek Walcott’s poetry.

Submitted by

Md Imtiaj Dhali

MA in English

Batch:10th Roll:154

ID.No.:WUB07/12/10/154

Submitted To

Rakibul Hasan

Lecturer in English

WORLD UNIVERSITY OF BANGLADESH

WORLD UNIVERSITY OF BANGLADESH

Walcott was born and raised in Castries, Saint Lucia, in the West Indies with a twin brother, the future playwright Roderick Walcott, and a sister, Pamela Walcott. His family was of mixed race and ethnicity; he had two white grandfathers and two black grandmothers.[5] His family is of African and European descent, reflecting the complex colonial history of the island which he explores in his poetry. His mother, a teacher, loved the arts and often recited poetry around the house.[6] His father, who painted and wrote poetry, died at age 31 from mastoiditis while his wife was pregnant with the twins Derek and Roderick, who were born after his death.[6] Walcott's family was part of a minority Methodist community, who felt overshadowed by the dominant Catholic culture of the island established during French colonial rule.

As a young man Walcott trained as a painter, mentored by Harold Simmons, whose life as a professional artist provided an inspiring example for him. Walcott greatly admired Cézanne and Giorgione and sought to learn from them.[6]

Walcott studied as a writer, becoming “an elated, exuberant poet madly in love with English” and strongly influenced by modernist poets such as T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound.[2] He had an early sense of a vocation as a writer. In the poem "Midsummer" (1984), he wrote:

"Forty years gone, in my island childhood, I felt thatthe gift of poetry had made me one of the chosen, that all experience was kindling to the fire of the Muse.

At 14, Walcott published his first poem, a Miltonic, religious poem in the newspaper, The Voice of St Lucia. An English Catholic priest condemned the Methodist-inspired poem as blasphemous in a response printed in the newspaper.[6] By 19, Walcott had self-published his two first collections with the aid of his mother, who paid for the printing: 25 Poems (1948) and Epitaph for the Young: XII Cantos (1949). He sold copies to his friends and covered the costs.[7] He later commented,

Methodism and spirituality have played a significant role from the beginning in Walcott's work. He commented, "I have never separated the writing of poetry from prayer. I have grown up believing it is avocation, a religious vocation." He describes the experience of the poet:

"the body feels it is melting into what it has seen… the “I” not being important. That is the ecstasy...Ultimately, it’s what Yeats says: 'Such a sweetness flows into the breast that we laugh at everything and everything we look upon is blessed.' That’s always there. It’s a benediction, a transference. It’s gratitude, really. The more of that a poet keeps, the more genuine his nature".

He notes that"if one thinks a poem is coming on...you do make a retreat, a withdrawal into some kind of silence that cuts out everything around you. What you’re taking on is really not a renewal of your identity but actually a renewal of your anonymity".[]

Walcott has said his writing was influenced by the work of the American poets, Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop, who were also friends.

He has published more than twenty plays, the majority of which have been produced by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, and have also been widely staged elsewhere. Many of them address, either directly or indirectly, the liminal status of...
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