Derek Walcott: Omeros (2026 words)

Paul Breslin (Northwestern University)
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Context

Omeros (1990) is the longest and most ambitious of Derek Walcott’s three book-length poems, appearing between Another Life (1973) and Tiepolo’s Hound (2000). Walcott had already been on nomination lists for the Nobel Prize, but it was this poem that clinched the case and brought him the prize in 1992. Taking its title from the Greek form of the name Homer, it draws analogies between characters in the Iliad and Odyssey and ordinary people in Walcott’s native island of St. Lucia. The idea of Homer in the Caribbean goes back to the political rhetoric of Walcott’s youth, when the British territories were planning to enter independence as a federation. The notion of the West Indies as the New Aegean,…

Citation: Breslin, Paul. "Omeros". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 February 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3088, accessed 22 May 2022.]

3088 Omeros 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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