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Tiepolo's Hound [Paperback]

Derek Walcott
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Sep 2001
A magnificent, semi-autobiographical sequence from a Nobel Prize-winning poet, Tiepolo's Hound joins the quests of two Caribbean men: Camille Pissarro - a Sephardic Jew born in 1830 who leaves his native St. Thomas to become a painter in Paris - and the poet himself, who longs to rediscover the detail of a painting encountered on an early visit from St. Lucia to New York. Published with 25 full-colour reproductions of Derek Walcott's own paintings, the poem is at once the spiritual biography of a great artist in self-imposed exile, a history in verse of Impressionist painting, and a memoir of the poet's desire to catch the visual world in more than words.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (3 Sep 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571209122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571209125
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 13.4 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'This is a rich, hugely ambitious work, the mighty poem of a major poet in the full flight of his authority and curiosity, a Victorian-scale construction which thrilled me and which I will read again and again.' Andrew Marr, Daily Telegraph; 'Tiepolo's Hound is a long, complex but coherent, almost Wordsworthian account of the growth of the poet's mind, which is interwoven with a biographical study, or poetic re-creation of the life and art of Camille Pissarro... beautifully written.' Vernon Scannell, Sunday Telegraph; 'Walcott explores the connections between the landscapes of childhood and those of art, he enters the mind of exile, unteases the presumptions of Empire...' Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

About the Author

Derek Walcott was born in St Lucia, in the West Indies, in 1930. The author of many plays and books of poetry, most recently White Egrets (2010), he was awarded the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1988, and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eat your heart out, Oxford University 9 July 2009
To think Oxford University could have had the writer of this marvellous, challenging book as its Professor of Poetry! A master craftsman weaving in and out of his richly multicultural world . Intriguing and full of surprises . Read and then read again.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Light Reading 19 May 2001
By A Customer
Derek Walcott has never been afraid of risking over-ambition, and 'Tiepolo's Hound' is nothing if not over-ambitious. It's certainly a rare enough thing for contemporary poets to be writing long narrative poems in multiple 'books' or 'chapters', more common, by far, for them to be putting out slim volumes of lyrics which examine a cluster of themes in short takes, and from multiple points of view. Since his long autobiographical poem 'Another Life', through 'The Schooner Flight' and 'Omeros' Walcott has dared to write poems with something of the epic dimension and all the novelist's panoramic breadth and scope. 'Tiepolo's Hound' is no exception.
More like 'Omeros' in its sometimes stiff, high rhetorical style, than 'The Schooner Flight's' half patois / half English vernacular, it is nevertheless a poem of great freshness and beauty. What strikes me most, above all the art-historical machinations of the basic plot, is the delicacy and cadence of Walcott's language. His sensitivity to light, in particular, is remarkable, and his ability to evoke the splendors of the visual world in words. True, Walcott's somewhat Victorian grandiosity occasionally seems overwrought, but what gives this poem its subtle, accumulative power, is its almost visionary absorption into a luminous world of changing colours - whether they be of Paris, Rural France or the Caribbean. Just read it aloud to yourself. It's images and music are hypnotic. Well worth the effort, and a good reminder that there are some things that are better if sustained over a longer distance than crystallized into the smallest possible space. Walcott's poem is almost like a time-lapse film, where the reader is given a privileged perspective on all the changes of illumination - from dawn to dusk. Dazzling.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Coffee-table poetry and art" 12 May 2000
By Lee, John Robert - Published on
Derek Walcott has always confessed his ambitions to be a painter of note.While poetry became his favourite wife, his love for painting never disappeared. Over the years he has continued to paint, and his art now decorates the covers of his poetry collections. "Tiepolo's Hound" seems one of the least personal of Walcott's books. While we get glimpses of the poet's life, he is more concerned to explore the life of Camille Pisarro to understand the heart of the individual bound to the calling of artist. It seems a tentative, searching exploration.Obviously identifying with their common Caribbean childhood and the influences of landscape and history they share, Walcott tries to see into the complex struggles of this artist who left the Caribbean for Paris, to become one of the fathers of impressionism.Seeking his epiphanic hound,he shares with us the painters who excited his artistic inspiration. Alongside his rhyming couplets he has placed twenty six of his own paintings-some very good, others less so.It is rare to find a book like this, coffetable poetry and art together by the same artist. Now seventy, this Nobel Laureate is not afraid to share his meditations on art and poetry-through art and poetry-warts and all.A collector's item.Walcott's readers must be patient with him, and try to go with him as he charts, quite bravely,his questionings of the artist's commitment and the cost."Whatever the age is, it lies in the small spring of poetry everywhere"(p66).A defining comment.Read "poetry" as the very heart of all art.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Painting 26 April 2008
By Michael Fong - Published on
For reference, the white hound may be the one found in "Finding the Moses" by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. See also youtube's "Tiepolo's Hound: A Reading by Derek Walcott".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tiepolo's Hound 26 Dec 2005
By Unhegel - Published on
With so many wondrous works, it is tempting to take Walcott's poetic virtuosity for granted. Of them all, this is my favorite, and this one features his virtuosity at its most shining. His effortlessly rhyming couplets sing themes of painting and poetry, biography and myth, existential pain and release,geography and spirit. And Pissarro the painter is duly celebrated.
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