Derek Walcott was a playwright and poet from Saint Lucia. In 1992 he won the Nobel Prize for literature. His epic poem Omeros was published two years before winning the Nobel, the work stands as his crowning achievement. Throughout his career as a writer Walcott has received numerous literary awards and honors from various countries. Walcott’s path to success was forged early on in life by recognizing the need to get noticed as a writer by making his work available.
At the age of nineteen, Walcott self-published his first two volumes of poetry; he then sold the books one at a time to pay back his mother who financed the venture. Walcott knew that the secret to success was to find a way to show his poetry to the world, he did not see the point in toiling away in obscurity. The tactic paid off. Walcott’s early works caught the eye of Barbadian “Man of the Arts” Frank Collymore, who sought out Caribbean writers to encourage them to create. He soon received a scholarship which enabled him to study at University College of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. After graduation Walcott found work as a teacher and a journalist, which laid the foundation for his literary career.
Here are ten quotes from writer Derek Wolcott to inspire the path to creative success:
“Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.” – Derek Walcott
“Whole Memory that yearns to join the centre, a limb remembering the body from which it has been severed, like those bamboo thighs of the god.” – Derek Walcott
“The sigh of History rises over ruins, not over landscapes, and in the Antilles there are few ruins to sigh over, apart from the ruins of sugar estates and abandoned forts.” – Derek Walcott
“The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.” – Derek Walcott
“If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.” – Derek Walcott
“The personal vocabulary, the individual melody whose meter is one’s biography, joins in that sound, with any luck, and the body moves like a walking, a waking island.” – Derek Walcott
Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic.” – Derek Walcott
“Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape, and faced with its beauty, the sigh of History dissolves.” – Derek Walcott
“We make too much of that long groan which underlines the past.” – Derek Walcott
“This is Port of Spain to me, a city ideal in its commercial and human proportions, where a citizen is a walker and not a pedestrian, and this is how Athens may have been before it became a cultural echo.” – Derek Walcott
Author: Phil Zavackis
Phil Zavackis is a freelance writer living in Toronto. He has recently finished a screenplay titled ‘105 Degrees & Rising’, which is about the Fall of Saigon in 1975. https://www.quora.com/profile/Phil-Zavackis/blogs