Tune in for “A conversation with Professor Edward Baugh and Dr Hannah Regis”
Derek Walcott has given words of caution for anyone who undertakes his biography. His essay “On Robert Lowell” begin: “Biographies of poets are hard to believe. The moment they are published they become fiction, subject to the same symmetry of plot, incident, dialogue as the novel. The inarticulate wisdom of really knowing another person is not in the broad sweep of that other person’s life but in its gestures; and when the biography is about a poet the duty of giving his life a plot makes the poetry the subplot.”1 Later in the essay Walcott writes, with reference to Lowell: “But we have all done awful things, and most biographies that show the frightening side of their subjects have a way of turning us into moral hypocrites” (Twilight, 97).
This is an audio sample of Derek Walcott Chapter 1.