‘Wall To Wall Walcott’ for St. Lucia’s Derek

Nobel laureate Derek Walcott.
AP Photo/Paula Alyle Scully

Nobel laureate Derek Walcott is coming to New York. A film about his storied career is due for a premiere showcase in two weeks and on March 28 he will be front and center inside Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College to reign poetic justice on all who attend. A program billed “Wall To Wall Walcott” presented in conjunction with the Caribbean Cultural Theatre, the St. Lucia Consulate and other cultural organizers have organized several activities in salute of the iconic literary genius. And just in case, facts are scarce about the born St. Lucian, here are 10 things to know and never forget.

1. With a scholarship, he studied at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica then moved to Trinidad in 1953, becoming a critic, teacher and journalist. Walcott founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959 and remains active with its board of directors.

2.At the age of 18, he made his debut with “25 Poems” but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, “In a Green Night” (1962).

3.Walcott has published more than 20 plays, the majority of which have been produced by the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, and have also been widely staged elsewhere.

4.He also founded the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at Boston University in 1981.

5.Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992, the first Caribbean writer to receive the honor. The Nobel committee described his work as “a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment.”

6.In 1993,a geographical landmark in St. Lucia named Columbus Square was renamed Derek Walcott Square. The public square and park is located in the center of the capital city of Castries and was previously named for the Spanish explorer in 1892.

7.In 2009, Walcott began a three-year distinguished scholar-in-residence position at the University of Alberta.

8.In 2010, he became Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex.

9.Walcott taught literature and writing at Boston University, retiring in 2007. His later collections include Tiepolo’s Hound (2000), The Prodigal (2004) and White Egrets (2010), which was the recipient of the T.S. Eliot Prize.

10. “Poetry is an Island” is a documentary about the St. Lucian intellectual. Check out the NY Premiere of the Derek Walcott film on Feb. 16 at 3:00 p.m. It will be screen with no admission cost at the Taipei Economic Cultural center, 1 East 42nd St.

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