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Poet Derek Walcott dies at 87
The poet and playwright Derek Walcott has died aged 87 at his home on the Caribbean island of St Lucia. Nobel Laureate was a close friend and translator of Josef Brodsky. Interestingly, many contemporaries called them “two opposites”.
УLike his friends, Brodsky and Heaney, his voice will resound through history,Ф said critic and biographer Hermione Lee. Walcott once noted that he, Brodsky, and the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, who all taught in the United States, were a band of poets "outside the American experience". Josef Brodsky called Walcott Уmetaphysical realistФ and Уthe best of all contemporary English-writing poetsФ.
They met in US at the end of 1970-s at the Robert Lowell’s funeral. УWhen I stood there as the service was being said, I looked at him and I thought, if this man is not going to cry, IТm not going to cry, either.Ф – says the poet in the book Conversations with Derek Walcott, УI admire Josef for his industry, his valor, and his intelligence. HeТs a terrific example of someone whoТs a complete poet, who doesnТt treat poetry as anything but a very hard job that he does as well as he canФ.
Walcott was BrodskyТs translating collaborator. English-speaking audience knows Brodsky mainly because of WalcottТs translations. Also Brodsky also translated his friendТs poems in Russian. The pair were keeping in touch until BrodskyТs death in 1996. Walcott wrote Italian Eclogues devoted to BrodskyТs memory.