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Collected Poems, 1948-1984 Paperback – January 1, 1987

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Walcott has written nine books of poetry, beginning with 25 Poems (printed in St. Lucia in 1948) and ending with Midsummer ( LJ 1/84). In Collected Poems , Walcott offers us generous selections from all his books, especially Sea Grapes ( LJ 8/76), and he adds the entire text of Another Life (1974), his autobiography in verse and a tribute to the formative influences of the island of St. Lucia. Walcott is a superb stylist who leaves his signature in complex chains of imagery: "The rain falls like knives/ on the kitchen floor./ The sky's heavy drawer was pulled out too suddenly." Collected Poems will certainly rank as one of the important poetry titles of 1986, and no poetry collection will be complete without it. Strongly recommended. Daniel L. Guillory, English Dept., Millikin Univ., Decatur, Ill.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“One of the most instructive experiences afforded by this collected edition is the spectacle of a poet moving with gradually deepening confidence to found his own poetic domain, independent of the tradition he inherited yet not altogether orphaned from it . . . This is a triumphant book.” ―Seamus Heaney, The Boston Globe

“It is difficult to think of a poet in our century who--without ever betraying his native sources--has so organically assimilated the evolution of English literature from the Renaissance to the present, who has absorbed the Classical and Judeo-Christian past, and who has mined the history of Western painting as Walcott has. Throughout his entire body of work he has managed to hold in balance his passionate moral concerns with the ideal of art. By his fifty-fifth year Derek Walcott has made his culture, history, and sociology into a myth for our age and into an epic song that has already taken its place in the history of Western literature.” ―Peter Balakian, Poetry

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; New edition edition (January 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374520259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374520250
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
One cannot recommend this book too highly. It is a certain classic for scores of generations to come. Derek Walcott IS the Carribean. His poems enrich the reader's sense of the Carribean without ever over-sentimentalizing. Walcott's keen observations heighten the familiar, while at times domesticating the exotic. His poem "The Spoiler's Return" is equally humorous and disturbing, as it adresses the social problems of the Carribean, and is best appreciated when read with a Carribean accent. His lines ebb and flow like a tide, but always draw you in and never disappoint. Must read poems of his: "Codicil", "The Spoiler's Return", "LI" (from the Midsummer collection), "The Schooner Flight", "The Fortunate Traveller". If you buy one collection of English poetry published after WWII, this should be the book you purchase. No one alive can make the English language work as powerfully and brilliantly for him/her as Derek Walcott can.
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By A Customer on April 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
...i firmly believe he has reperesented the caribbean in a way no- one has ever done before. Derek Walcott's diction and his superb metaphors are yet to be seen in any other caribbean poet. Yet, like the jamaican reggae superstar Bob Marley, Walcott has used his art in such a way that the whole world can identify with his work. His development of major themes such as alienation and cultural identity, Caribbean history , society and development and the pOst colonial era truly represents the region in a realistic way. His poems are truly inspirational and representative of the Caribbean. Walcott's poems are a reseviour for any historian who wishes to know about the history of the Caribbean. One shoud note that Walcott has not only used the english language in his poems but he has created the rhyme and rhythm in such a way to achieve a Caribbean creole(See "Parades Parades"), thus firmly establishing his identity as a caribbean poet and writer.IN CONCLUSION, Walcott is a true genius and we in the caribbean are proud of him.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a poem in O'magazine a few years ago and was in the process of throwing out some magazines for recycling and thought I'd better look through them and see if I should re-read any of the articles. When I got to the poem, titled Love After Love I just stopped. I couldn't believe that I had only breezed through it and put it aside. I tore the page out of the magazine and also made copies. I LOVED THIS POEM!! It did something to me when I read it,.. and I can read it over and over again and get the same feeling. I finally decided to google the author and locate the poem. Amazon.com had tons of info and the book, so I bought it and I never buy anything online. This book has been worth it. Every poem is simply incredible, but my favorite will always be 'Love After Love'.
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Format: Paperback
Derek Walcott's "Collected Poems 1948-1984", is a work of literary genius. It is a classic that echoes the works of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, and other great poets of the past. Walcott not only echoes their styles, he has embraced them and made them his own; adding his own strong island flavour. So what you get is a very refreshing read full of images and sounds that bombard the senses; carrying you away to another world. This book is a road into the poet's heart which echoes the loves, passions and sorrows of all humanity
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Format: Paperback
This cool dude uses language in a way no one else does. He redefines syntax, conventions, the way words are placed together, and forms a new interpretation of phrase-synthesis I can't even begin to describe. Actually, I will. There's lots of surrealism here, but not just for its own sake. There's deep philosophy here too. The sombering tones give the incredulous imagery and abstractionistic logic (this guy's a hard read, as it says in the preface) and language that makes him something like a Sylvia Plath in tuxedo, but with a much wider-spanning genius that gives his poetry a greater variety of elements and vocabulary, and with better breaks and sense of poetic rhythm.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When you read Derek Walcott you cannot help but be dragged into his world. It is not a world where you sit on the beach, drink a beer and listen to Jimmy Buffett all day.

Instead, it is a world where life is hard. You live in a place where nature is indeed beautiful but at times unforgiving. The sun cooks you, the sand chafes you and the water drains you.

In this book of collected poems, Walcott has some of his more famous poems along with relatively unknown ones. Some are like the Iliad, some are strange and need deep introspection. Either way, they all touch some part of your psyche. It is obvious that he has won so many prizes for his work, least of all the Nobel Prize. It is accessible and deep all at the same time.

Good poets guide us in the story, we take what we can and allow ourselves to open up and understand the beauty of the work. Walcott is a master of the tour.
-----------------------------------
Excerpt from "Egypt, Tobago"

There is a shattered palm
on this fierce shore,
its plumes the rusting helm-
et of a dead warrior.

Numb Antony, in the torpor
stretching her inert
sex near him like a sleeping cat,
knows his heart is the real desert.

Over the dunes
of her heaving,
to his heart's drumming
fades the mirage of the legions,

across love-tousled sheets,
the triremes fading.
Ar the carved door of her temple
a fly wrings its message.

He brushes a damp hair
away from an ear
as perfect as a sleeping child's.
He stares, inert, the fallen column.
Read more ›
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