The Prodigal

A Poem

Derek Walcott

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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Do not diminish in my memory
villages of absolutely no importance,
... Hoard, cherish
your negligible existence, your unrecorded history
of unambitious syntax, your clean pools
of unpolluted light over close stones.

The Prodigal is a journey through physical and mental landscapes, from Greenwich Village to the Alps, Pescara to Milan, Germany to Cartagena. But always in "the music of memory, water," abides St. Lucia, the author's birthplace, and the living sea. In his new work, Derek Walcott has created a sweeping yet intimate epic of an exhausted Europe studded with church spires and mountains, train stations and statuary, where the New World is an idea, a "wavering map," and where History subsumes the natural history of his "unimportantly beautiful" island home. Here, the wanderer fears that he has been tainted by his exile, that his life has become untranslatable, and that his craft itself is rooted in betrayal of the vivid archipelago to which, like Antaeus, he must return for the very sustenance of life.

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Reviews

Praise for The Prodigal

"Derek Walcott's virtues as a poet are extraordinary . . . 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." --James Dickey, The New York Times Book Review

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About the Author

Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott was born in St. Lucia in 1930. His Collected Poems: 1948-1984 was published in 1986, and his subsequent works include Omeros (1990), The Bounty (1997), and Tiepolo's Hound (2000). He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

Derek Walcott

© Danielle Devaux / danidevaux.com
Derek Walcott

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Prodigal
A Poem
Derek Walcott

Award

Nobel Prize For Literature

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
October 2004
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374237431
ISBN10: 0374237433
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 112 pages
$20.00

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
March 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374530167
ISBN10: 0374530165
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 112 pages
$12.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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