25 January, 2011 - Published 14:33 GMT

Walcott wins top poetry prize

St Lucian Nobel laureate poet Derek Walcott has won one of the most prestigious poetry prizes in the world.

He scooped the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry on Monday 24 January for his 2010 collection "White Egrets".

Mr Walcott was chosen from a shortlist of ten authors.

The judges said they felt that his White Egrets was a moving, risk-taking and technically flawless book by a great poet.

The collection covers difficult subjects such as the complex colonial legacy of the Caribbean but also the wonders of modern St Lucia - where Walcott was born eighty years ago and now lives.

It also includes two poems written to United States president, Barack Obama.

Derek Walcott won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

Listen to Derek Walcott reading his poem, Forty Acres - written to honour the Presidential election victory of Barack Obama, and other extracts.


‘Sixty Years After’ by Derek Walcott

In my wheelchair in the Virgin lounge at Vieuxfort,
I saw, sitting in her own wheelchair,
her beauty
hunched like a crumpled flower,
the one whom I thought
as the fire of my young life would do her duty
to be golden and beautiful and young forever
even as I aged.

She was treble-chinned, old,
her devastating smile was netted in wrinkles,
but I felt the fever
briefly returning as we sat there, crippled, hating
time and the lie of general pleasantries.
Small waves still break against the small stone pier
where a boatman left me in the orange peace
of dusk, a half-century ago,
maybe happier being erect,
she like a deer in her shyness,

I stalking an impossible consummation;
those who knew us
knew we would never be together,
at least, not walking.
Now the silent knives from the intercom went through us.

This poem is from White Egrets by Derek Walcott, published by Faber & Faber