Caribbean mourns passing of writer Derek Walcott
"He was great" and "one of the best" are just some of the multitude of praises that greeted yesterday's death of 87-year-old Sir Derek Walcott - the St Lucia-born but Caribbean-celebrated poet, playwright and painter.
Walcott, the 1992 Literature Nobel prize winner, "died peacefully" at his home in St Lucia and "will greatly missed", said a statement from the family.
Literary critic, Professor Carolyn Cooper, wrote her 1977 Ph.D. thesis on Walcott's poetry and plays, where she observed that he explored Caribbean culture in all its complexity.
"His poetic voice was mainly English, but his plays were attuned to the Creole language of St Lucia," Cooper said. "Walcott's lasting contribution to world literature is that he created a body of work that truly reflects a Caribbean sensibility. He was a product of the colonial experience, but he found a language to imaginatively delineate the contours of his own cultural landscape."
Though doing his first publication (25 Poems) at age 18, Walcott drew global attention with his 1962 collection, In a Green Night, which critics argued introduced the world to his mastery of the English language in telling stories.
It's part of the reason why Jamaica's poet laureate, Professor Mervyn Morris, believes Walcott, who wrote the famous play Dream on Monkey Mountain was "one of the pre-eminent writers in English language in the world, and certainly one of the two or three greatest writers in the Caribbean in English. He was a very Caribbean person, although there were times when people thought that he was too much tied to European influences, but that was never fair.
"St Lucia and the world have lost one of its noted literary icons," the island's Cultural Development Foundation stated.