Derek Walcott, Omeros

Paul Breslin (Northwestern University)
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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, a young civilization that might eventually rival the achievements of the ancient…

2026 words

Citation: Breslin, Paul. "Omeros". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 February 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3088, accessed 13 April 2024.]

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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