Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Derek Walcott on the Poet's Role

From Derek Walcott: Politics and Poetics:

"The poet is, by virtue of his role, set apart (most people are not poets), but the important fact is that he is given that role because he shares in that community: 'your duty is supplied by life around you. One guy plants bananas; another plants cocoa; I'm a writer, I plant lines.' As he wrote in 'Mass Man,' 'someone must write your poems.' The poet provides a service to his community, like the grower of food; his produce, poetry, can be seen as 'the bread that lasts.' Real lives are ephemeral, but art endures. It is the old wisdom, 'ars longa, vita brevis,' but given new impetus in the poet's responsibility to 'translate' a new, unrecorded society into art." (p 96)

No comments: