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Derek Walcott The Caribbean Poet Derek Alton Walcott was born in St Lucia a small island in the West Indies in 1930 His parents were middle-class Protestants in a society of predominantly poor Catholics He studied literature at St Marys College in St Lucia and at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica A man of two distinct and opposite bloodlines English and African he often writes of the struggle within At the age of eighteen he financed the publication of his first collection of poetry titled Twenty-Five Poems He writes plays as well as poetry and has been awarded an Obie for his play Dream on Monkey Mountain In 1992 after years of waiting Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize for literature and has been cited as the first great poet of West Indian culture Anderson 73 His mother being actively involved in the local theater during his early years strongly influenced his artistic development Walcotts father a painter with some degree of talent also helped influence his work The self-portrait of his father gave him motivation and he felt a sense of continuity while practicing his art This combined parental support at a very early age gave him the confidence to start painting Often in his youth he imitated his favorite writers and tried to follow in their footsteps Walcotts strongest influences came from English born writers like Dylan Thomas and Hart Crane He still loves the ringing line and the musical quality that some poets have within their verse Baugh 49-50 As he has grown however one can clearly see that Derek Walcott has developed his own unique style of writing Most of his works reflect the spirit of the West Indies and the cultural division among the peoples within this region In his poetry Walcott also deals with the anger hurt and resentment associated with colonialism His individual experience has become part of what it means to be West
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