POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Nobel Prize-winning poet, playwright, and teacher Derek Walcott will read from his work on Tuesday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. in the Villard Room of the College Center. This event is free and open to the public.
For his 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature, Walcott was acknowledged for a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, and the outcome of a multicultural commitment. He teaches creative writing and drama at Boston University, and in 1981 was awarded a five-year MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.
"Walcott's virtues as a poet are extraordinary," James Dickey wrote in The New York Times Book Review. "He could turn his attention on anything at all and make it live with a reality beyond its own; through his fearless language it becomes not only its acquired life, but the real one, the one that lasts. Walcott is spontaneous, headlong, and inventive beyond the limits of most other poets now writing."
At eighteen Walcott began writing poetry in his native West Indies, and he has gone to publish the collections The Prodigal, Tiepolo's Hound, The Bounty, Omeros, The Arkansas Testament, Collected Poems: 1948-1984, Midsummer, The Fortunate Traveller, The Star-Apple Kingdom, Sea Grapes, Another Life, The Gulf, The Castaway, and In a Green Night.
Walcott was awarded a fellowship by the Rockefeller Foundation to study the American theater, after graduating from the University of the West Indies. He went on to found the Trinidad Theater Workshop and the Boston Playwrights' Theatre, and his plays have been widely produced. Walcott's Dream on Monkey Mountain won the Obie Award for Distinguished Foreign Play, and his stage works also include The Odyssey: A Stage Version; The Isle is Full of Noises; Remembrance and Pantomime; The Joker of Seville and O Babylon!
A recipient of the Royal Society of Literature Award and the Queen's Medal for Poetry, Walcott is also an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. His first collection of essays, What the Twilight Says, was published in 1998.
Derek Walcott's reading at Vassar is supported by the Helen Forster Novy ‘28 Fund for Visiting Scholars and the Caribbean Students Alliance. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations should call the Office of Campus Activities, at (845) 437-5370.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.