The IUP Journal of English Studies
The Sea as Locus of History and Identity in Selected Poems by Derek Walcott

Article Details
Pub. Date : Jun, 2019
Product Name : The IUP Journal of English Studies
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJES51906
Author Name : Raad Kareem Abd-Aun
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : English Studies
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 09



Both the sea and history occupy prominent places in the literature written by postcolonial writers. Derek Walcott shows a great interest in both the sea and history in his poetry. This paper investigates, through a close analysis of selected short poems by Walcott, how he uses both the sea and history as loci to search for his identity.


It takes a West Indian a long time to say who he is. (Hirsch, 1979)

Derek Walcott (1930-2017) was a Saint Lucian poet and dramatist. Born a hybrid, he devoted his writings to identify who he was. Walcott inherited his mixed blood from a white Dutch/English grandfather and a black African grandmother. Thus, he learned to respect other cultures and nationalities. His great love for the English language was the fundamental factor of his success. He, like the other black Caribbean poets who consider Africa their homeland, never lost contact with his African roots, and his works express the passion he has for his roots as he incorporates the landscape, the sea, the harbors, and the typical themes of the Caribbean region. This paper analyzes selected short poems by Walcott—namely, “The Schooner Flight,” “Names,” “The Sea Is History,” “Winding Up,” and “Sea Grapes”—to highlight how he uses the sea and the history as loci to search for his identity.