The Prodigal by Derek Walcott - review by Peter McDonald

Peter McDonald

Poet on Holiday

The Prodigal


Faber & Faber 106pp £12.99

Most writers will know the feeling, though for poets it’s perhaps especially strong: at first, the problem is that there’s almost too much to write about, and too little time in which to get it all written; then after a while the supply of subject matter seems to dry up, and there is no end of time in which to carry on with the writing. Successful authors often solve this one by discovering that their own success (sorry, life) is a fascinating subject in itself; and very successful writers (we’re talking Nobel Prize level here) have a particular burden of significance to bear, as stoically as they can, in their continuing lives and letters.

Derek Walcott, of course, is one of those Nobel laureates in poetry whose work has a large, admiring following, and it is possible to see what many of his readers enjoy. Unaffectedly, he has always steered an independent course through literary fashions, writing in the mainstream of twentieth-century metrical verse,

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March

A Mirror - Westend

Follow Literary Review on Twitter