Derek <i>Sans Terre</i>: The Poetry of the 1980s

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:
Derek Sans Terre: The Poetry of the 1980s

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This chapter focuses on Walcott's poetry in the 1980s. The Fortunate Traveller (1981) inaugurates a restless decade of shuttling between the Caribbean and North America, with increasingly frequent trips to Europe as well. “I accept my function,” Walcott declares, “as a colonial upstart at the end of empire, / a single, circling, homeless satellite.” Compared with earlier works, there is more self-reflexiveness in The Fortunate Traveller and certainly more attention to it on the part of critics from the mid-1980s onward. Several reasons for this perceived change converge: the growing vogue of deconstructive criticism in the United States in the early 1980s; Walcott's increased contact with U.S. writing and its intellectual ambience; and Walcott's attenuated relation to the Caribbean, which deprived him of the naturalizing trope of an Antaeus-like power derived from place. It is a change that his critics half perceive and half create.

Keywords: Derek Walcott; Caribbean; poetry; The Fortunate Traveller

Chapter.  10973 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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