The Islands of Poetry
the ant crawls
out of my shadow.” 1
What’s in a name?
propose to speak to you of islands, exclusively but not literally, as we
encounter them in poetry. For the
poet of “Sunday Morning,” the very planet we live on is an “island
solitude, unsponsored, free, / Of that wide water inescapable.” 2 The image urges upon us a habit of thought to which poetry
is like a “wide water inescapable.” In
it floats, “unsponsored," and “free,” an entire archipelago of ideas,
feelings, attitudes, and images, communing with and commuting between what we
choose to call our islands. I hope
to show you some of the ways in which, and some of the reasons why, poetry
invests such islands with a shared sense of commonty,
an archaic but stubborn sense of a common ground in which the difference of
individuals and their histories are both preserved and mingled to give us a
habitat and a habitude in the idea of community.
To the poet, island and community
are both notions entirely comfortable with and especially hospitable to the
figural, while also being variously enriched by how they may be grounded in this
or that local habitation or name, as for instance, the Caribbean, or Singapore,
or New Zealand, — or indeed you or me, if the transference from bodies of rock
and earth to just bodies is not too wrenching a turn.
can, of course, be no island without water.
And a propos of lakes, Auden once remarked that if it took longer
than an afternoon to circumvent a body of water, for instance Lake Michigan or
Lake Baikal, he’d rather call it “an estranging Sea."3 As for islands, he found it cosier to think of them as lakes
“turned inside out." What
does it mean to the poet then, to be an island?
Or to live on one? or to go
to one? Or to leave one?
Or to return to one? and
especially to have been turned inside out by one?
In brief, what does it mean to mean island? “What’s there in a name, / You may well ask, fellow
traveller” says “Alphonso at Tea.” 4
The answer, of course, is: everything. It
makes a world of difference between whether we take, for example, Atlantis
as the name for a continent, even if floating and lost, or whether we take
it for an island, lost and found. Imagine
the lake turned inside out to give us Australia, and you’d have to have the
Pacific; contrariwise, imagine the island of Elba turned inside out, and you
might conjure up a ghost for Napoleon!
me turn then to some of the ways in which thinking about pieces of rock
surrounded by water in precisely this or that way makes the difference between
islands encountered in geography, or even history, and those inhabited by poems.
These are “imaginary gardens,” as Marianne Moore reminds us (although
she could just as well have said “imaginary islands”), but always with
“real toads” in them.5
Robin Crusoe as an island
with the belief that the difference naming makes to whatever is named is also
the difference poetry makes to the whole host of ideas that is islands.
Just so, the notion island refracts and colours profoundly what we mean by community.
One way of illustrating this collocation is to conduct a quick roll call
of the community of Robinson Crusoes that the literary imagination peoples
islands with. In other words, one
way of naming an island is to know it as the castaway does, who is a type of the
self not only undone by an island, but someone learning to regard himself as
Castaways refract the idea of community across a whole world of
difference as it gets shattered by the Scylla of chance or the Charybdis of
contingency. Consider the entirely
different value signified by islands to a certain Alexander Selkirk who got
stranded on one for four years and four months, and to Daniel Defoe’s Robinson
Crusoe who could leave his island only after “four and twenty years, two
months and 19 days,”6 and to J.M. Coetzee’s Mr. Cruso, who would
rather die than leave “losing himself in the contemplation of the wastes of
water and sky” on his island, 7 and to yet another “Crusoe in
England,” as imagined by Elizabeth Bishop.
bored old creature finds, on getting back to England, that he has only exchanged
one island for another, and made himself poorer in the bargain.
(Something about this morose islander will not fail to remind us of yet
another difficult homecoming, in which a transformed Lemuel Gulliver is
compelled “to behold my figure often in a glass, and thus, if possible,
habituate myself, by time, to tolerate the sight of a human creature.”8)
Thus, islands do make converts of the castaway, but to the oddest faiths
and failings. As Walcott remarks in
“Crusoe’s Island,” “men fail / According to their creed.”
9 Elizabeth Bishop’s Crusoe too makes a kind of faith from
his failing. It takes the form of a
most eloquent amnesia, which is displaced, in a curious manner, onto his books:
read were full of blanks;
poems — well, I tried
to my iris-beds,
flash upon that inward eye,
is the bliss...” The bliss of
of the first things that I did
I got back was look it up.10
island induces in Crusoe’s books could be called a protective erasure, a
willed and temporary forgetting. Remember
the many erasures and forgettings indulged in by Prospero’s books whilst on
Caliban’s island? Certain
emotions and ideas had better not be named or recollected at all except when
safely distanced from the memory of the islands which serve as their occasion. So much for Wordsworth and his “bliss of solitude.”
So much too for the function of an island as a talisman against itself.
The passing irony of this particular Crusoe’s “blank spots” is
nothing compared to the bitterness of finding on his return to England that
“The living soul has dribbled away” from all the simple objects which had
once, in his island solitude, “reeked of meaning:” “the flute, the knife,
the shrivelled shoes / my shedding goatskin trousers... / the parasol...” “And Friday, my dear Friday,” who “died of measles/
seventeen years ago come March.”
the sum of the difference made to the idea of community, to every one of the
figurative islands of the self denied by Donne’s Devotions.11 The figure of the castaway is obliged to cast what spell he can on
all the alphabets of his text, as constituted by the few objects and memories he
is left with, and the actual island he is left on. That is one way to salvage a sense of self and of community
in a condition of diminution. The
other way, as illustrated by Bishop’s Crusoe, is to will a forgetting in which
the force of the diminution will not be allowed to become real by not being
given a name. Both kinds of
difference are harmonized by the figure of prosopopoeia,
“the ascription of a name or a face or a voice to the absent, the
inanimate or the dead.” And it
is as a form of invocation, as a calling up and a calling forth of meaning and
significance that prosopopoeia maps the self, with islands and communities as
the two axes against which the locus of the moving self is plotted.
Without its magic the poet as islander searching for “Origins” will
worry like Walcott that
islands have drifted from anchorage
gommiers loosened from Guinea,
the childhood of rivers.13
In such straits,
mind, among sea-wrack, sees its mythopoeic coast,
like the polyp, to take root in itself.
A poem by Brathwaite begins
and ends with the identical image of the polyp:
A yellow mote of sand dreams in the polyp’s eye....
my yellow pain swims into the polyp’s eye.14
polyp in these poems is an emblem for the mind as it ruminates over an idea,
like grit in an oyster. This
germinating idea is none other than that of an island becoming aware of itself.
It is also the idea of the self discovering itself as an island.
For such islanders, the literal island is simply the pretext for a text
naming itself, as in invocation or exorcism.
It is also the recognition of a need, as in a prayer. For instance, in this poem from Australia, an island is
simply the point of vantage from which to take stock of the self, after which
our Prospero of the self may be allowed to drown (and the island revert,
presumably, to its congenial spirit, Caliban):
we break the staff,
into the sea,
the southern ocean
pray for me.15
The islander as poet
Therefore, what all our Crusoes tell us is that islands are a good way of
thinking one’s way through a sense of dispossession, through the sense of loss
at being made into “a community of one.”
16 Walcott, in “Crusoe’s Journal,” notes that
the hermetic skill that from earth’s clays
something without use,
separate from itself, lives somewhere else,
surrenders wholly, for it knows
needs another’s praise
hoar, half-cracked Ben Gunn, until it cries
last, “0 happy desert!”
learns again the self-creating peace
castaway undergoes separation and isolation as a kind of death and then as a
possible birth or rebirth. Poetry’s
name for this figure of stepping into life within a constricted and then
redefined boundary is exile. You
can also recognize it as migration. Likewise,
the writer’s condition is often one of exile or migration because that is when
you cannot take your self or your relation to other selves for granted.
So islands are a good natural habitat for exiles and immigrants, the
unwilling and the Willy-nilly. In
the confining boundaries of an island, a self cannot escape easily nor shed the
obligation to confront, recognize, and name itself.
The island Adam begins the task of naming with himself.
As “Caliban upon Setebos” remarks:
the sport: discover or die!
not die, for of the things o’ the isle
flee afar, some dive, some run up trees;
his mercy, — why, they never please Him most
when ... well, never try the same way twice! 18
This suggests a multiple equation: the self as castaway, island, exile, or
immigrant is also a poet. The poet
spells out what it means to be on an island of the self.
He also casts spells to conjure up alternatives to the self as an island,
redefining the boundaries of islands and of the self in terms of an archipelago
or as concealed and submerged jointure through the visible geography of isthmus,
promontory, and peninsula to the invisible commonalty that is the human
mainland. “The Map” of
Elizabeth Bishop’s very human geography treats it subjectively, as a question:
“does the land lean down to lift the sea from under, / drawing it
unperturbed around itself?” 19
Islanders are poets in the sense that they are continually bound to
the task of sustaining the fabrication that is their island, while also
continually fabricating bridgeheads across this island. On the mainland, these
tasks are either forgotten or taken for granted or undertaken as in a dream,
involuntarily. “In dreams begins
responsibilities,” as Yeats once said, and our islander is one who dreams
while awake, with his eyes open.20 To the Sri Lankan poet for whom
his island is, in a very literal sense, “A Country at War," “when we
sleep we find night dangerous, / the dream turns out to be real.”21
as dreamer makes two kind of fictions, depending on the role performed by
islands in them. The dreamer either
searches for the island of his desire and then abides on it, as a
Lotus‑eater, or one of Circe’s tourist swine; or simply finds himself
trapped on one, like the thief in a poem by Robert Graves, who is confined to
the galleys of causes not his own, and
now has to steal a reason for living from life itself.22 This
kind of dreamer appears to have little real choice between living
in and leaving an island
confinement. For him the island is
a place “In which it seemed always afternoon.”
The other kind desperately needs to escape, a situation calling for
Daedalan skills, and a firm unwillingness to “Let what is broken so remain.”23 In the absence of such skills, there is the
Ostrich-option of introversion: N ways of making oneself comfortable in
confinement. This may be
exemplified in a “Waiting for the Barbarians” poem from Sri Lanka, which
takes the form of an apologia. It
is also an updated recollection or universalization of how Archimedes
encountered death on his island home of Sicily.
Amidst the embattled solitude of an island laid siege to by itself, the
poet cultivates the retrenchment of living within the sixty‑four squares
of the chessboard:
if the chief end
at present seems to be to find
infallible answer to the French Defence
opponent’s favourite opening), don’t say
escaping. In a world without sense
look for meaning wherever one
it — if only, perhaps, for a day
I know the Roman soldier
shape or another — is on the way.24
a way of choosing not to escape. One
of the most poignant renderings of the opposite impulse, the desperate desire to
escape an island, is enacted in a poem called “Orpheus’ Dream.” The narrative of Eurydice’s death, and the failure of
Orpheus to get her back from Hades, is the perfect allegory for any significance
that, once lost, may not be retrieved, even by the poet. That is the classical myth, and in it, Hades is like a
Prison‑house of the Unrecoverable. But
Edwin Muir (unlike Rilke25) reverses the entire tragic force of the
allegory. His Orpheus must have a
happy ending, even if only in a dream. Do
we find this dream a fantasy of wish-fulfilment?
a crazed illusion? a
pathetic delusion? Or does it have
a dream’s power to project the fictions of desire as a truth transmuting the
mundane trivia, which our day selves call reality?
The poem sustains a tremulous ambivalence in how it celebrates a Eurydice
who does not turn back, because this Orpheus, at least in the dream that is
poetry, does not lose faith in their community of two:
And she was
there. The little boat
perilous isles of sleep,
oblivion and despair,
Eurydice was there.
skiff could scarcely keep
Stevens’s “The World as Meditation,” another heroic figure of the
imagination reverses the force of reality while trapped on an island of
solitariness. It is Penelope
waiting for her Ulysses:
composed, so long, a self with which to welcome him,
Companion to his self for her, which she imagined,
To this dreaming figure of faith,
the warmth of the morning sun on her pillow is like the presence of her man, as
if he had never left:
it Ulysses? Or was it only the warmth of the sun
pillow? The thought kept beating in
her like her heart.
kept beating together. It was only
Ulysses and it was not. Yet they
and dear friend and a planet’s encouragement.
barbarous strength within her would never fail .27
Islands as Ithaka
The islands of poetry are not populated by the involuntary exile or the
temporary castaway alone. It is
also in the nature of islands to offer themselves as havens and homes: but
before you can live on them, you have to get to them.
So, it is that islands invite journeys.
And the how and the why of getting there is where the self begins all its
allegorical voyages of discovery. Andrew
Marvell summed up for Europe, in one of its climactic historical moments, a
whole set of motives for travelling to islands.
We might call them the Bermuda complex:
we do but sing his praise
That led us
through the wat’ry maze,
Unto an isle so
And yet far
kinder than our own?”28
figure of a voyage is an obvious and compelling metaphor for knowledge
articulated as narrative. Almost
any heuristic of consciousness can be narrativized in terms of a mutually
interactive tension between notions like traveller and destination, or community
and history, or a people and their destiny.
As a novelist has said, “What is character but the determination of
incident? What is incident but the
illustration of character?”29
the island-poets who are the vehicle of my allegorical figure can be seen
undertaking a representative journey, a plotting of the self in the act of
characterizing the voyage that they have made of their fives.
My emblem for this figural way of thinking is Ithaka,
a name for a progression in time and understanding figured as a geographical
journey. It is a fable retold by an
odd sort of poet who belonged nowhere and everywhere in time and place — a
“gentleman in a straw hat, standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to
the universe.”30 His
name was Cavafy. But it is also
Walcott, or Brathwaite or any other writer for whom the tenor of the allegory is
that the true end of voyaging is always other than what you had thought. Or as the donkey said to itself, it is the carrot made me
Ithaka always in your mind.
there is what you’re destined for.
don’t hurry the journey at all.
if it lasts for years,
you’re old by the time you reach the island,
with all you’ve gained on the way,
expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
gave you the marvelous journey.
her you wouldn’t have set out.
nothing left to give you now.” 31
Auden’s Atlantis serves
pretty much the same function:
Unless you are capable
Of forgetting completely
Atlantis, you will
finish the journey.32
voyages locate a site or a space around which the poetry circles.
And what is encircled is never the mere name of an island.
It is tempting to try and attach labels to this site and to the circling
— for instance, the diasporan, or the post-lapsarian.
But what serves much better as a mark of recognition is Cavafy’s Ithaka. This Ithaka
is neither just a point of departure nor of arrival.
It is the name for a state of thinking and feeling, of dreaming and
hallucinating, that one is on a journey which has no end beyond making sense of
itself In this movement the voyager’s involuntary compulsions can meet his
acts of volition, an adventure can become a necessity, an escapade become a
stepping forth into one’s self, a need turn into a ritual, and a loss work
hard to become a finding.
happening or the site marked by such poetry, that towards which, and away from
which, and around which, these poetries travel is what I shall call a division
or a rift or a rending. It is this
that Walcott’s traveller will have healed if he can return to the Love he
started from, which one of his poems celebrates as “The amen of calm
The pastures of
The litany of
The rosary of
Of sunlight and
The amen of
calm waters ...33
Thus, islands may be named in
terms of the water that surrounds them and gives them their shape. As Brathwaite
says to the “pure pouring of water” lapping his shores:
I see you, my wound-
giver of sea
syllables: words salt on your lips
What is thus acknowledged in
invocation (which is also part exorcism and part prophylaxis) is something we
might name or recognize as the fear of dispossession, keeping in mind Geoffrey
Hill’s treatment of the painful epigram — “You cannot lose what you have
never possessed” — with the punning ambiguities of the bitter retort: I can
lose what I want. I want you.”35 Or we might call it repossession, since Hill’s epigram is
meant to be turned inside out, and we are meant to understand how it feels to
know that you possess something, by how the wanting (or the losing) can hurt,
and how want or need or hope can be celebrated in annunciation as much as health
or the healing. So there is the
poetry of prolepsis:
images of power,
first, the body learns
But there is also the elegiac
vision of islands as a coupling of turtles:
islands that coupled as sadly as turtles
islets, as the turtle of Cuba
Jamaica engendered the Caymans, as, behind
hammerhead turtle of Haiti-San Domingo
the little turtles from Tortuga to Tobago ...37
Brathwaite the Caribbean is a scatter of pebbles.
A pebble cannot be cracked; it is not seed which will take root; it can
slay giants, but it can never bear children.38 His is the most
lacerating vision of an island as a gap or rending. The reasons have to do with the history and psychology of his
island home and people (and I wonder if it is any surprise at all to learn that
he has now left them behind for the larger and perhaps even more estranging
island of North America). In
“Islands” he says:
through a map
Antilles, you see how time
humble servants here. De-
of the slave do not
kinder, you will observe
pause, to be hole
void, to be silent
semicolon, to be semicolony;
will confound the void
will raze the colony fill me with words
will blind your God.40
Word is love
been absent from our butterflies.
word is peace
absent from our streets.41
poetry constantly returns to the figure of the voyager setting forth — for
reasons which always look beyond his control — from a state he will go back
to, but as to an island transformed. You
might call it the site or name of a myth: the myth of wholeness or togetherness,
of belonging to what it might have been like if the division represented by the
voyage had never taken place. This
wholeness or sense of belonging is a necessary fiction, because it no longer is,
or might never have been, or might never come to be, or is to be discovered only
after first being lost, as in the separation represented by the voyage, and in a
return like that of Odysseus. In
effect, it is a way of re‑membering the present and predicating a shape
for the future. In so far as it is
a fiction which drives the poet to the voyage and to the return, every reason
behind what makes its fictive existence possible (and indeed necessary) is a
compelling heuristic of a particular kind of poetic consciousness: the movement
away from the cognition of the self as an island, which has to be a recognition
of how this figuration may be reversed.
The Man who Loved Islands
Orpheus and Eurydice of Edwin Muir’s poem are a community whose union can
disband the boundaries of an island seen as the shape of isolation.
When are geographical islands not symbols of solitariness?
Only when part of an archipelago, and when linked to the mainland.
Since togetherness implies a twofold at the very least, you might well
ask — together with what or who? The
answers are: together not only as Orpheus with Eurydice, but also as an Odysseus
with his family, his island‑kingdom, and his community.
That is to say, as a self with its chosen way of life, or simply as a
sense of self that one can live with. For
this figuration, the return to an island, as well as the escape from an island,
are both emblems of the amity between the self and its environment.
That is how prosopopoeia gathers islands of meaning into communities of
sense. Walcott’s name for this is
“The Man Who Loved Islands,” and one way of singing his Sea-Chanty is the
the liquid Antilles,
tremble like needles
In ports of
a poetry of communion. But its
celebration of stasis represses fictions of departure and arrival. It is a way of living for which the poet will always be
finding new names which repeat the same reason.
In its pursuit and practice, our voyager enacts a supplementary fiction
in which he appears or pretends to have finished travelling.
These idylls are indistinguishable from those in which he dreams that he
never started off on the journey. Neither
kind of fiction works for long, except to motivate its alter-ego.
Together they make a circle of a
strip of path which otherwise does not let the end meet its beginning.
So what the poet does is to make a kind of moebius‑strip, a twist
by which he has his feet on the ground, or his oar in water, and always moves straight forward, but keeps meeting himself at all the other stages
of a journey which, in a sense, he has never undertaken or finished.
So it is that we are told in Walcott’s Omeros:
there are two journeys
odyssey, one on worried water,
other crouched and motionless, without noise.
the other to cities where people speak
the right journey
motionless; as the sea moves round an island
appears to be moving, love moves round the heart —
encircling salt, and the slowly travelling hand
its return to the port from which it must Stan.43
Poets like Walcott and Brathwaite, writing from their specific island
locations in place and time, practise variations on an Ithakan voyage to which
there are analogues wherever we have islands with a context of plurality and
multiplicity, whether of peoples, races or histories. Walcott’s Ithaka is the
result of trying to counter the danger of a myopic view of his island home by
placing it in a relation of parallelism and contrast with another island far
removed in geography and history, whose very distance places in relief the
community of issues that unites the two island situations.
This poetry gathers around him a whole family of assimilations and
reanimated memories of this other island whose great difference from his home
must help the poet
bridge the gap between himself and his present just as it must bridge the gap
between the real and the fictive, the contemporaneous and the historical, the
local and the perennial. The gap is
a very real one, and it must be acknowledged by hurting, before the poetry can
both measure and then bridge the distance between there and here, or then and
now. The memories, figments and
fragments that this displacement or double‑vision of the centre generate
are never merely sentimental. Prosopopoeia
reckons them consciously in terms of tensions and losses, in terms of the
difference that must be subtracted of a world he can never look at, from the one
he lives in, before he can see himself stereoscopically in both.
So it is that the blind guide “with a locked marble hand” leads the
poet of Omeros, like Virgil before him holding the hand of Dante, through the
circles of the hell that is Walcott’s St. Lucia:
the boiling engines
in its fissures, the deep indignation
Hephaestus or Ogun grumbling at the sins
who had sold out their race, the ancient forge
bubbling lead erupted with speculators
heads gurgled in the lava of the Malebolge
deals as they rose. These were the
who are brought to account at
least in poetry.
never in Troy, and, between two Helens,
here and alive ...
Helens are different creatures,
marble, one ebony ....
draws an elbow slowly over her face
offers the gift of her sculptured nakedness,
her mouth. The sanderlings lift
with their cries.
those birds Maud Plunkett stitched into her green silk
sibylline steadiness were what islands bred:
dove, black grackle, herons like ewers of milk,
to a habitat many had adopted.
lakes of the world have their own diaspora
every winter, but these would not return.
African swallow, the finch from India
spoke the white language of a tea-sipping tern,
Chinese nightingales on a shantung screen,
Persian falcon, whose cry leaves a scar
sky till it closes, saw the sand turn green,
dunes to sea, understudying the man-o’-war,
the marine dialect of the Caribbean
nightjars, finches, and swallows, each origin
the islands to which their cries were sown.46
we submit, in no position to set anyone free.47
Or, what was said by Empson
heart of standing is you cannot fly.48
An island, in the end, is no
more and no less than the place we stand on, as a place to stand by.
Wallace Stevens, “Six Significant Landscapes,” Collected Poems
(New York: Knopf, 1956), p. 74.
Wallace Stevens, “Sunday Morning,” V11, Collected Poems (New
York: Knopf, 1956), p. 70
W.H. Auden, “Bucolics, IV. Lakes,
V. Islands,” Selected Poems (London: Faber, 1979), pp. 208‑211.
Edwin Thumboo, “Alphonso at Tea,” A
Third Map (Singapore: Unipress, 1993), p. 120.
Marianne Moore, “Poetry,” American
Poetry of the Twentieth Century, ed. Richard Gray (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1976), p. 74.
Cf. “Appendix: Alexander Selkirk,” Robinson
Crusoe, ed. Angus Ross (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1965), p.
302, & p. 274.
J. M. Coetzee, Foe (Harmondsworth:
Penguin, 1986), p. 38.
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Part IV, Chp. XII (London:
Dent, 1940), p. 316.
Derek Walcott, “Crusoe’s Island,” Collected Poems
1948‑1984 (New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 1986), p. 60.
Elizabeth Bishop, “Crusoe in England,” Geography III (London:
Chatto, 1977), pp. 134.
John Donne, Devotions, XVII: “No
man is an Hand, intire of it selfe;
every man is a peece of the Continent, a
part of the maine…” Complete Poetry
& Selected Prose, ed. John Hayward (London: Nonesuch, 1955), p. 538.
J. Hillis Miller, “Prosopopoeia in Hardy and Stevens,” Alternative
Hardy, ed. Lance St. John Butler (London: Macmillan, 1989), p. 110
Walcott, “Origins,” Collected
Poems, pp. 12,14.
Edward Brathwaite, “Coral,” The
Arrivants: A New World
Trilogy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 232, 234.
Dorothy Hewett, “Island and Forest,” Selected
Poems (Fremantle: Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 1990),
A. K. Ramanujan, “The Difference,” Second
Sight (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 66.
Walcott, “Crusoe’s Journal,” Collected
Poems, pp. 93-94.
Robert Browning, “Caliban upon Setebos,” Browning:
A Selection, ed. W.E. Williams (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1954), p. 274.
Elizabeth Bishop, “The Map,” The
Complete Poems (London: Chatto, 1970), p. 3.
Yeats’s epigraph from an “Old Play” to Responsibilities
(1914), Yeats’s Poems, ed. A.
Norman Jeffares (London: Macmillan, 1989), p. 196.
Jean Amsanayagam, “A Country at War,” The
Penguin New Writing in Sri Lanka, ed. D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke (New Delhi:
Penguin, 1992), p. 104.
Robert Graves, “Thief,” Collected
Poems 1975 (London: Cassell, 1975), p. 53.
Alfred Tennyson, “The Lotos‑Eaters,” Poems
and Plays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1953), pp. 51, 52.
Reggie Siriwardena, “Waiting for the Soldier,” The
Penguin New Writing in Sri Lanka, ed. D.C.R.A. Goonetilleke (New Delhi:
Penguin, 1992), pp. 106-107.
Maria Rilke, “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.,” New
Poems, tr. J.B. Leishman (London: Hogarth Press, 1964), pp. 143-147.
Edwin Muir, “Orpheus’ Dream,” Collected Poems 1921‑1958 (London:
Faber, 1960), p. 216.
Stevens, “The World as Meditation,” Collected Poems, p. 521.
Andrew Marvell, “Bermudas,” Selected
Poetry, ed. Frank Kermode (New York: Signet, 1967), p. 59.
Henry James, “The Art of Fiction,” The
Critical Muse: Selected Literary Criticism, ed. Roger Gard (Harmondsworth:
Penguin, 1987), pp. 196-197.
The phrase is E. M. Forster’s: Pharos
and Pharillon (1923, rpt. New York: Knopf, 1962), p. 96.
C.P. Cavafy, “Ithaka,” Collected
Poems, tr. Edmund Keeley & Philip Sherrard (Princeton: Princeton
University Press, 1975), pp. 35-36.
W. Auden, “Atlantis,” Selected Poems,
Walcott, “A Sea‑Chanty,” Collected
Poems, p. 46.
Brathwaite, “Dawn,” The
Arrivants, p. 238.
Geoffrey Hill, “Coplas,” Collected
Poems (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1985), p. 93.
Edwin Thumboo, “Island,” A Third
Map, p. 79.
Walcott, “The Star‑Apple Kingdom,” Collected
Poems, p. 393.
Brathwaite, “Pebbles,” The
Arrivants, p. 196.
Brathwaite, The Arrivants, p.
Brathwaite, The Arrivants, p. 224.
Brathwaite, “Wake,” The Arrivants, p. 212.
Walcott, Collected Poems, p.
Derek Walcott, Omeros (London/Boston: Faber, 1990), p. 291.
Walcott, Collected Poems, p. 52.
Walcott, Omeros, p. 289.
Walcott, Omeros, pp. 313-314.
W. H. Auden, “Caliban to the Audience,” from “The Sea and the
Mirror,” Selected Poems, p. 149.