By Derek Walcott
A suite of poems via modern poet, Derek Walcott, whose topic is the landscape of existence, panorama, tradition and politics of the West Indies.
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Extra resources for Collected Poems, 1948-1984
It should send the belittlers of your poetic power scudding like yawls before the wind. With the strong local color of your ﬁrst two books becoming the background, in the development of the personal, reﬂective poems of “Down East,” to a more universal expression of your emotions and philosophy, you reach maturity. The most striking 1931–1936 : part i : 11 growth is in your ability to describe the sea and its eﬀect on you. In your earlier work you often failed—there are metaphors and similes in such poems as “The Gulf Stream” and “Ocean Liner” that grate on the mind like a dory bottom on a rocky beach.
It’s been Emerson, Melville, Whitman, Twain, Wolfe. When the best America’s got comes out, it bursts and spatters like black oil struck in the Oklahoma ﬁelds. By the time it’s harnessed and piped, controlled, the terrible ﬁre, the lovely power, somehow, is gone. Perhaps it just has been that way and now we’re old enough to get a code on our spiritual as well as our social forces. I don’t 1931–1936 : part i : 13 know. I don’t know any more what I think about it than I do what I think about Wolfe or about myself.
A summer route! It’s ﬁrst delivery today! Fernwood—over back of West Gloucester Station, Winniahdin and Little River. Long walks between stops but a good route for me for the summer, I think—outdoors, good leg training and I can work the route out myself instead of stepping into a regular’s place. My desk is next to Billy Maister’s. They gave me a new bag. Net pay down here learning the route. I punch the clock tomorrow for the ﬁrst time at 7:30. 3 4 : part i : 1931–1936 And I go out alone! Oh, boy, what a time I’ll have trying to ﬁnd these summer cottages and the people in ’em.