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White Egrets Paperback – 27 Jan 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (27 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571254748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571254743
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 0.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

Praise for Derek Walcott: "No poet rivals Mr. Walcott in humor, emotional depth, lavish inventiveness in language or in the ability to express the thoughts of his characters and compel the reader to follow the swift mutations of ideas and images in their minds . . . [His poetry] makes us realize that history, all of it, belongs to us." --"The New York Times Book Review"

Book Description

White Egrets by Derek Walcott, winner of the 2010 T. S. Eliot Prize.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In White Egrets, Derek Walcott's 14th collection of poems, we find the narrator in mainly reflective mood. Less evident in this collection is the Latin and foreign phrases that can be found scattered in previous collections. However, that does not necessarily make the collection less opaque. In places the language is dense, richly figurative and very inter-textual. All this commands a careful attentive read.

Where the last collection, The Prodigal, was one long epic poem, in White Egrets the collection of poems are much shorter individual poems that stands in their own right and could be divided into two categories: there are the titled poems that address specific issues and there are the untitled poems that give the impression of a mature narrator randomly reflecting upon the past. The narrator laments a past that is going, going, gone as for example in Acacia Tree:

"You use to be able to drive (though I don't) across
the wide, pool-sheeted pasture below the house
to the hot, empty beach and park in the starved shade
of the acacias that print those tiny yellow flowers."

This is what links the poems together, the reflection upon the past. The aged narrator, one assumes it is Walcott, stares his mortality in the face and summons up his past. At this stage in life it is time to make amends so there are many dedications to be found in the collection for example to August Wilson, Oliver Jackman, Lorna Goodison and even Barack Obama gets a poem dedicated to him. Another major feature of the collection is that whilst we are not sure from where the narrator is speaking his mind nonetheless wanders across the globe: London, New York, Amsterdam, Italy, Spain and of course the Caribbean.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some beautiful poems by a master craftsman that evoke both the natural world of the Caribbean and the fragility of life, whether human or not. Walcott has an easy rhythm and a facility with images, raising plants and birds to the level of universal symbol.
The poems of travel in Europe register new experiences and a different pace of life.
This was a book well worth buying.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a late masterpiece from a Nobel prize winning poet. It is superb from the first poem to the last. The themes are personal and universal. The poet is ageing and yet still feels a younger man in heart and loins. Walcott deals with this familiar territory of old age with honesty, poignancy and brilliant imagery. The poetry is rhymed throughout but with such delicacy and fluency that you will first read the book through without noticing. What will astound you is the stunning detail of landscape both external and internal. The book only grows on second and third reading and so on. Walcott is a master at weaving together the living fabric of his observation and thoughts. Included are wonderful descriptions of his trips abroad to Italy and Spain as well as the beloved domestic vistas of the Caribbean. He pays homage to various friends, alive and dead, and scores off an enemy who has despised his homeland. There are pages of reckoning with the British Empire and other political legacies, but mainly a reckoning with himself. This is a great work and there is room for remorse as well as defiance. It was wisely chosen as the Poetry Book Society Choice and won the T.S. Eliot Prize. In my opinion it is a far better book than Heaney's late work Human Chain which won the Forward and I am sure history will agree with me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Derek Walcott's poetry; such a strong sense of what ties us to the physical world we emerge in and the human community that brings us into being
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