Nobel Prize-winning Poet Derek Walcott Dies at Age 87

Daniel Hautzinger
Derek Walcott.

Derek Walcott, the St. Lucian poet and playwright who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992 for poetry that "acquires at one and the same time singular lustre and great force," has died at age 87. Walcott devotedly captured the unique people and landscape of the Caribbean, where Africans, Europeans, and Asians all intermingled in a confined space. He is especially renowned for his book-length poem "Omeros," which his Nobel citation described thus: "This is a work of incomparable ambitiousness, in which Walcott weaves his many strands into a whole. Its weft is a rich one, deriving from the poet's wide-ranging contacts with literature, history and reality."

In 1981, Walcott appeared on Studs Terkel's WFMT radio show and discussed the West Indies, history, and his recent plays. In this clip he describes the singularity of the islands, their people, and its elemental landscape.

From the Studs Terkel Radio Archive, courtesy Chicago History Museum and WFMT Radio Network