Chapter

“Pulling in the Seine / of the Dark Sea”: “The Schooner <i>Flight</i>”

Paul Breslin

in Nobody's Nation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780226074269
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226074283 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226074283.003.0008
“Pulling in the Seine / of the Dark Sea”: “The Schooner Flight”

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This chapter analyzes the poem, “The Schooner Flight.” Prior to its inclusion in The Star-Apple Kingdom, the poem appeared in three different forms spanning the period from winter 1977 through 1979. Given the lead time between submission and publication, Walcott must have begun the poem in 1976, when his affair with Norline Metivier, later to become his third wife, was breaking up both his second marriage and the social cohesion of the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. Knowing the circumstances, one can hardly help reading the poem as grounded in autobiography, preoccupied as it is with the sundering of ties to marriage and nation and with a quest for self-transformation and rebirth. The revisions show Walcott increasing the artistic distance between himself and his persona, the sailor-poet Shabine, and shifting the center of gravity from Shabine's personal troubles toward his disillusionment with postcolonial Trinidad and his visionary struggle to free himself from the colonial past.

Keywords: Derek Walcott; self-transformation; marriage; sailor-poet; Shabine; postcolonial Trinidad

Chapter.  10583 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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