Goodison recalls Derek’s humour

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A report from Jamaica’s Observer.

The announcement of Lorna Goodison as Poet Laureate of Jamaica comes on the heels of Derek Walcott’s passing.

Walcott, the St Lucian Nobel laureate for literature, was a dear friend of Goodison.

He died on Friday at his home in St Lucia after what has been described as a protracted illness.

“I am so saddened by his passing as Derek and I were friends. We met many years ago as he was one of the first persons to give me lessons in creative writing after taking a look at my poems. Over the years he has also been a mentor to me. We spoke two weeks ago, but I could feel that he was leaving us gradually,” Goodison said.

On Tuesday, Goodison was named Poet laureate of Jamaica by the National Library of Jamaica. She will be installed during a ceremony at King’s House in St Andrew on May 17. She succeeds Professor Mervyn Morris who was invested in 2014.

Goodison noted that while Walcott’s skills at writing were world renowned, his sense of humour was equally riveting.

“Derek Walcott told the best jokes. His sense of humour was just outrageous. He could really make you laugh and he did. For me, he is the greatest poet, and if there is one thing we should draw from him is a drive to cultivate our own voices. When you read his work, it gave you an insight into his life experiences… a life lived. He was not borrowing someone’s thoughts, but rather his interpretation made deeper and wider,” she said.

Walcott will be getting a state funeral in St Lucia on Saturday.

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