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White Egrets (2010)

by Derek Walcott(Favorite Author)
4.19 of 5 Votes: 3
0374289298 (ISBN13: 9780374289294)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
review 1: One star is what I'd have given myself as a reader of White Egrets first time around; fortunately on this second outing I find myself on firmer footing. I don't think I've come across another book to which the word "painterly" so aptly applies: "Light frames itself in little squares..." "I come out of my studio for blue air that has no edges..." "Days when I painted in the furnace of noon..." "the failed canvases turn their shamed faces to the wall like sins..." Among the painters namechecked are Van Gogh, Vermeer, Frans Hals, Rubens, Rembrandt, Bacon, and Constable. Anyone who has ever painted, I imagine, will turn to this collection time after time; it is, in fact, the ideal studio companion, and my own beautiful hardback copy is probably destined to suffer coloured thum... morebprints and turpentine smears. Given that paintings must surely rank among the most alluring physical objects in our world, it also seems fitting that here Walcott celebrates the relationship between the book as artefact and the eye, with behind it all the mysteriousness of the human mind: "The page of the lawn and this open page are the same, an egret astonishes the page..." "Streets growing closer like print you can now read..." "This prose has the gait of a mule urged up a mountain road..." "A dingy writes lines made by the scanty metre of its oar strokes..." "A cloud slowly covers the page and it goes white again and the book comes to a close..." It helps that the book in question, in this age of downloads and Kindles, has been so sumptuously produced by Faber, an object that it's a pleasure to hold in your hands.
review 2: In Derek Walcott's latest collection of poems he explores the "quiet ravages of diabetes," loss, mortality, and his love of his native St. Lucia, all with a powerful evocation of place, light and the sea. "The perpetual idea is astonishment," he says, no modest ideal for the octogenarian, and he continues to be astonished - especially by the view, sound, and light of the sea. Of St. Lucia he writes, "this small place produces/ nothing but beauty." Simultaneously weaving together thoughts on coming home and letting go, he writes: "Breakers spread welcome./ Accept it. Watch how spray will burst/ like a cat scrambling up the side of a wall,/ gripping, sliding, surrendering; how, at first,/ its claws hook then slip with a quickening fall/ to the lace-rocked foam. That is the heart, coming home,/ trying to fasten on everything it moved from,/ how salted things only increase its thirst." Salty, visionary, and deeply personal. (Christie, Adult/YA Services) less
Reviews (see all)
Absolutely brilliant. I'll be writing an appreciation of this book later.
Nice poems by a one of our generation's finest writers...
Disappointing because it is so very boring.
TS Eliot Prize winner
Brilliant. Beautiful.
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