Manuscript of 'At Lampfall' by Derek Walcott


In this early 1960s poem, ‘At Lampfall’, we find many of the motifs that poet and playwright Derek Walcott consistently explores in his work: nostalgia, folklore, myth, Empire, and the sea. Walcott, who was born in St Lucia in 1930, is considered by many to be the preeminent 20th century voice of the Caribbean. Walcott described the region as a place of ‘unfinished associations’ born of slavery and indentureship.

This draft of the poem is written in Walcott’s own hand.

Walcott’s wider career

Walcott studied and worked in St Lucia and Jamaica before he moved to Trinidad where he founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959. He later took up teaching positions in the US, Canada and the UK. His breakthrough poetry collection, In a Green Light, was published in 1962, at the age of 32. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, two years after the publication of his acclaimed epic poem, Omeros.

Full title:
MODERN LITERARY MSS. Vol. IV. Shakespeare Quartercentenary Poems; circa 1958-1964. Autograph typewritten drafts and fair copies, mostly of poems commissioned for and published in 15 Poems for William Shakespeare, ed. E. W. White, 1964. The poem by Ch
c. 1958 - 1962
Typescript / Manuscript
Derek Walcott
© Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw and Anna Walcott-Hardy
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Held by
British Library
Add MS 52594

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