Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Creator: Derek Walcott, Poet

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Creator is the poet, Derek Walcott:

Derek Walcott on writing and painting.

Oh, what a beautiful language we have, this English. We strip it and we tear it down, we ignore it and abuse it and lose a bit of it along the way. It not only survives. It rises like a phoenix and soars. Especially when it is in the hands of a poet. William Shakespeare was that kind of poet, and Seamus Heaney too. So was Derek Walcott.

Derek Walcott was an island man, so he gave us islands and the sea. He showed us that poetry could rise out of the least of places. That it was possible for a black man from a very small place could become a great poet. And he did it with this magnificent language of ours.

 

The Curse

In honor of National Poetry Month, I shall be doing my poetry thing each Sunday in April.

“Be good to Sylvia. Always,”
Mrs. Plath said to son-in-law Ted.
It was a curse he carried
with him when the tide dragged him
out to sea and back toward home,
a firmer ground from which he drew
his inspiration, and Sylvia did not.
When she died, he became a man drifting,
drifting on a cold-hearted sea
of bad press, his lifeboat leaking.
It was the curse.
Funny how words can wound.
He took them in
day in and day out. One day
his boat sank, and he too died,
the words on his gravestone always to be:
“Ted Hughes,
the man who killed Sylvia Plath,
Poet.”

Episode 160: Ciara Shuttleworth!

You just never know where Uncle Bardie will show up. His review of “Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare” shares the stage with poet Ciara Shuttleworth, Thanks, John, for featuring moi in another of your great podcasts.

The Drunken Odyssey

Episode 160 of The Drunken Odyssey, your favorite podcast about creative writing and literature is available on iTunes, or right click here to download.

In this week’s episode, I talk to the poet Ciara Shuttleworth,

Photo by Drew Perlmutter. Photo by Drew Perlmutter.

plus Don Royster writes about how Isaac Asimov helped him to appreciate Shakespeare.

Don Royster

TEXTS DISCUSSED

Camus NotebooksThe Great Shark HuntAsimovs Guide to ShakespeareNOTES

To read about Ciara’s post-residency road-tripping with Flat Jack, here is part 1 and part 2.

To read Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of The Declaration of Independence, go here.

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A Bad Case of Sonnetosis

What can I say I was feeling unwell
With a fever of a hundred and three.
I called the doctor. He examined me,
My ups and downs, my valleys and my dales,
My hearing, my touch, my taste and my smell
And all the ins and outs of my body.
It hurts like hell, my eyes cried with a plea.
He laughed and said, “Wait till you get my bill.
I’m afraid you have something atrocious.
Those iambic pentameters, you see,
Are showing up in my diagnosis.
There’s only one thing I know it can be.
You have a bad case of sonnetosis.
There’s but one cure. A sonnetectomy.”