By Patricia Ismond
This booklet offers with the Caribbean section of Walcott’s poetry. The paintings is anxious with Caribbean id and self-definition. forsaking useless Metaphors uncovers the progressive attempt in a selected certain direction, that has thus far remained mostly unobserved.
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Additional info for Abandoning Dead Metaphors: The Caribbean Phase of Derek Walcott's Poetry
This is reflected in the inward, often self-regarding postures and attitudes which characterize his treatment of these themes. In effect, the genuine impulse to serve the landscape is subordinated to this preoccupation with his role and destiny as artist. The landscape is engaged and refracted mainly from that core reality. It is in Epitaph for the Young that we get the clearest illustration of these features. Epitaph presents in twelve cantos the personal odyssey of Walcott as the young questing poet.
28 Walcott knew intuitively that this leave-taking meant the probability of a final break with his island (the sense of a prodigal betrayal stays with him to this day), and he extends it in the poem as a valedictory experience. In "A Letter from Brooklyn" he responds to the touching tribute of a frail old woman moved to write to him about a reality he holds most sacred: the memory of his father and his vocation as an artist. Both poems, one might note from the outset, reflect the strong religious upbringing so much in the foreground in the early Walcott.
The poem enacts and celebrates the arrival of his artistic vocation as a promise of liberation, of arousal from what has so far been a condition of dearth and stasis, which is as much his as that of his island. The opening image of tropical proneness and inertia subsumes and identifies the plight of his island in his own: I, with legs crossed along the daylight, watch The variegated fists of clouds that gather over The uncouth features of this, my prone island Until from all I turn to think how, In the middle of the journey through my life, O how I came upon you, my Reluctant leopard of the slow eyes.