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HELP regarding Derek Walcott's poetry

Poetry Fool

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Sep 22, 2008, 6:14pm Top

I heard a poem by Derek Walcott with the line "drink it in." Is anyone familiar with it?

Also, if you are familiar with his poetry, what would you recommend as a good place to start reading some of his work?


Edited: Sep 24, 2008, 3:44am Top

Though I only possess the few Derek Walcott poems that are in my copy of The Norton Anthology of Poetry: Fourth Edition, they are phenomenal, and one of his poems ("A Far Cry from Africa") moved me so much that I ended up tagging pleas re: the genocide in southern Sudan with the last 2 lines from the poem:

How can I face such slaughter and be cool?
How can I turn from Africa and live?"

Though the "drink it in" phrase doesn't bring a particular poem to mind, I can suggest someone who might well recognize it: L. L. Barkat, who can be found on her blog SeedlingsInStone

Sep 24, 2008, 6:55am Top

I dont know this where this phrase comes from, but for a good place to start with Walcott, you might want to try his book Midsummer which consists of shorter poems describing... midsummer! They are quite wonderful. ALso, if you like a longer read, I recommend Omeros, his reworking of Homer in a Caribbean setting, and Tiepolo's Hound, which includes many poems about art. Walcott is also well known as a painter, and his poetry about other painters is beautiful and insightful.
A great poet.

Sep 25, 2008, 10:59pm Top

Thank you both for your help- his voice in this poem was very intriguing and it left me hungry for more!

If I find it, I will post it here for those who might be interested.

Sep 26, 2008, 8:59am Top

not the words, but perhaps the spirit of drinking it all in. This Walcott poem, then, to tide you over until you find all you're looking for.

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Jan 7, 2009, 1:54am Top

You do post good ones, tcw. This one speaks directly to me on this particular night. I’m so glad I stopped by; it has been a while.

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