The (Poetic) Clash of the (Literary) Titans: Derek Walcott and VS Naipaul

Derek Walcott, a St. Lucian Nobel Laureate, has launched a poetic attack on the person and work of another Nobel Prize Winner, someone more known in our part of the world, VS Naipaul from Trinidad.
Walcott presented his new poem ‘The Mongoose‘ to conclude a session of readings from his new book “White Egrets” at the Calabash Literary Festival (May 26-28) in Jamaica.

The extract of the poem comes from ‘Rhyme and Punishment for Naipaul‘ by Daniel Trilling of (June 1, 2008) The Observer

An extract from ‘The Mongoose’

I have been bitten, I must avoid infection

Or else I’ll be as dead as Naipaul’s fiction

Read his last novels, you’ll see just

what I mean

A lethargy, approaching the obscene

The model is more ho-hum than Dickens

The essays have more bite

They scatter chickens like critics, but

each stabbing phrase is poison

Since he has made that snaring style

a prison

The plots are forced, the prose

sedate and silly

The anti-hero is a prick named Willie

Who lacks the conflict of a Waugh or Lawrence

And whines with his creator’s


The mongoose was brought to the Caribbean from India by the British. Looking for the complete text of the poem.
Information pointed to by Ijaz Syed.
View complete works by Walcott and Naipaul below
More on Walcott
More on Naipaul

3 comments on “The (Poetic) Clash of the (Literary) Titans: Derek Walcott and VS Naipaul

  1. createmo says:

    Thank you for your site :-)
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  2. fauzia rafiq says:

    Thanks, Vladimir.


  3. Vladimir says:

    I just wanted to give a little correction. Derek Walcott is from St. Lucian Nobel Laureate not Trinidadian.


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