Derek Walcott, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $24 (86p) ISBN
From Nobel Prize–winner Walcott comes a 14th collection of poems, richly textured in sound and image, and spanning many countries and memories. From his native Caribbean to Italy, Spain, England, the Netherlands, and the United States, Walcott meditates on the passage of time, fallen empires, bygone love affairs, and mortality. Throughout, in metrically complex verses, he writes about the vocation of the poet with a virtuosic ear and a painterly eye (Walcott is also an accomplished watercolor and oil painter): “my craft and my craft's thought make parallels/ from every object, the word and the shadow of the word/ makes a thing both itself and something else/ til we are metaphors and not ourselves/ in an empirical language that keeps growing.” Walcott describes a wistful search for home in these poems—”Silly to think of heritage when there isn't much,” he writes—while also expressing deep joy and thanks that he finds his true and permanent home in poetry. “This is poetry's weather,” he says of a rainy day in Venice, a lovely moment in a beautiful book.
Reviewed on: 03/22/2010