Wednesday, August 29, 2007

VS Naipaul on Derek Walcott

VS Naipaul has written a really beautiful essay about Derek Walcott in the Guardian. Maybe Naipaul is softening up as he gets older. The eloquence by which he expresses his admiration for Derek Walcott's work is rather touching.

From an essay on the Guardian by VS Naipaul: "Caribbean Odyssey" —

It seemed to me quite wonderful that in 1949 and 1948 and doubtless for some years before there had been, in what I had thought of as the barrenness of the islands, this talent among us, this eye, this sensitivity, this gift of language, ennobling many of the ordinary things we knew. The fishermen rowing homeward in the dusk are not aware of the stillness through which they move. We lived in Trinidad on the all but shut-in Gulf of Paria, between the island and Venezuela; that sight of fishermen, silhouettes in the fast-fading dusk, so precisely done, detail added to detail, was something we all knew. Reading these poems in London in 1955, I thought I could understand how important Pushkin was to the Russians, doing for them what hadn't been done before. I put the Walcott as high as that.


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