“Blessing instead of complaining”

by Nicholas Laughlin on January 24, 2011

Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott

He has won almost every other poetry award he’s eligible for, and this evening in London it was announced that Derek Walcott has won the 2011 T.S. Eliot Prize for his latest book, White Egrets.

From the UK Guardian’s report:

The winning collection . . . was described by the chair of judges, poet Anne Stevenson, as “moving and technically flawless”.

“It took us not very long to decide that this collection was the yardstick by which all the others were to be measured. These are beautiful lines; beautiful poetry,” she said . . .

She praised Walcott’s technical mastery, saying: “It is a complete book from first to last; each poem belongs completely.” She added: “He is a very great poet — one of the finest poets writing in English.” . . . According to Stevenson, the collection “sees a return to his Caribbean setting after sojourns in England and America and he is, as it were, blessing the world instead of complaining about it”.

A nice birthday present for a poet who just turned eighty-one.

Jane King reviewed White Egrets in the November 2010 CRB; you can find more of our coverage plus links to other useful resources at the CRB’s special Walcott page.

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