Saturday, August 25, 2007

It wasn't until 1955 that I came across the Walcott book....

It seemed to me quite wonderful that in 1949 and 1948 and doubtless for some years before there had been, in what I had thought of as the barrenness of the islands, this talent among us, this eye, this sensitivity, this gift of language, ennobling many of the ordinary things we knew. The fishermen rowing homeward in the dusk are not aware of the stillness through which they move. We lived in Trinidad on the all but shut-in Gulf of Paria, between the island and Venezuela; that sight of fishermen, silhouettes in the fast-fading dusk, so precisely done, detail added to detail, was something we all knew. Reading these poems in London in 1955, I thought I could understand how important Pushkin was to the Russians, doing for them what hadn't been done before. I put the Walcott as high as that.

-- V.S. Naipaul on Derek Walcott, from a piece published in today's UK Guardian, excerpted from Naipaul's forthcoming book A Writer's People.

See this post at Antilles for a snippet from a 1963 letter in which Naipaul praises Walcott's "startling vision and muscular expression"....

1 comment:

Geoffrey Philp said...

Nicholas, are you sure this was written by Naipaul?
There is such kindness here.