The Bounty (review)

The Bounty (review) by Derek Walcott Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997, The Bounty reader: "Now, so many deaths, nothing short of a massacre/from the 78 pp., $18 Walcotfs first coUection of poems since Omeros (1990) has the Uthe grace and lapidary richness of imagery that his readers wül find famüiar. wild scythe blindly flailing friends, flowers, and grass . . ." This reflec- tion introduces a series of poems on mortality, on the history of Europe and the Caribbean, and ultimately, on art. Walcotfs goal seems to be one of reconciliation: to find conso- Walcott maps out an uneasy and surprising relationship between him- lation for death in art; to find, in self as mourner and the poem as elegy. tracing the differences between the Old and the New World, a love for He also considers the relationship of his birthplace, the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, to Europe, and the impor- both. In "Signs," Walcott begins: nineteenth century/with steaming train-stations, gas-lamps, encyclopedias,/the expanding waists of empires . . ." There follows a sweeping, yet deliberate consideration of Balzac's realism, opera, the Holocaust and the invasion of Poland, "Europe fulfilled its silhouette in the tance of his native patois with respect to the literary English he has come to love. The scope of his subject matter is impressive: he celebrates and glorifies the path of a line of ants and the vastness of the ocean; he aUudes to John Clare's primitivist "Mouse's Nest," to Guy de Maupassanfs folktales, and to Dante's Paradiso. The resulting poems, contemplative, often haunting, are as followed by a direct address to Adam Zagajewski, to whom the poem is dedicated. Perhaps only Walcott could man- sattsfyingly lush and complicated as one would expect from the Nobel laureate. without trumpeting his virtuosity or offers itself to the reader as a medi- age such a scope of subject matter calling undue attention to his formi- tirely of the title poem; the second, longer section features a sequence of elegies and meditations on art. In The Bounty is divided into two unequal sections. The first consists en- dable technical mastery. The Bounty tation on the struggle for reconciliation and consolation, and it is a "The Bounty," an elegy for his moving record of this process and its relationship to making art. (NK) Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson mother and for the poet John Clare, Walcott reconciles the position of the poet as mourner with that of the poet as maker. Keeping the material in its place, he seems to say, is the only way for a poet to grieve fully and to offer consolation to himself and the Knopf, 1997, 223 pp., $22 Winterson's newest novel traverses reader. He concludes: "No, there is grief, there will always be, but it must not madden,/like Clare ..." The second section of the book be- books, where fairy tale meets sexual bizarre, but unflaggingly articulate, the famUiar territory of her previous politics. The novel explores a trio of characters whose relationships are as gins with a short lyric that tells the 228 · The Missouri Review http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Missouri Review University of Missouri

The Bounty (review)

The Missouri Review, Volume 20 (3) – Oct 5, 1997

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Publisher
University of Missouri
Copyright
Copyright © The Curators of the University of Missouri.
ISSN
1548-9930
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Abstract

by Derek Walcott Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997, The Bounty reader: "Now, so many deaths, nothing short of a massacre/from the 78 pp., $18 Walcotfs first coUection of poems since Omeros (1990) has the Uthe grace and lapidary richness of imagery that his readers wül find famüiar. wild scythe blindly flailing friends, flowers, and grass . . ." This reflec- tion introduces a series of poems on mortality, on the history of Europe and the Caribbean, and ultimately, on art. Walcotfs goal seems to be one of reconciliation: to find conso- Walcott maps out an uneasy and surprising relationship between him- lation for death in art; to find, in self as mourner and the poem as elegy. tracing the differences between the Old and the New World, a love for He also considers the relationship of his birthplace, the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, to Europe, and the impor- both. In "Signs," Walcott begins: nineteenth century/with steaming train-stations, gas-lamps, encyclopedias,/the expanding waists of empires . . ." There follows a sweeping, yet deliberate consideration of Balzac's realism, opera, the Holocaust and the invasion of Poland, "Europe fulfilled its silhouette in the tance of his native patois with respect to the literary English he has come to love. The scope of his subject matter is impressive: he celebrates and glorifies the path of a line of ants and the vastness of the ocean; he aUudes to John Clare's primitivist "Mouse's Nest," to Guy de Maupassanfs folktales, and to Dante's Paradiso. The resulting poems, contemplative, often haunting, are as followed by a direct address to Adam Zagajewski, to whom the poem is dedicated. Perhaps only Walcott could man- sattsfyingly lush and complicated as one would expect from the Nobel laureate. without trumpeting his virtuosity or offers itself to the reader as a medi- age such a scope of subject matter calling undue attention to his formi- tirely of the title poem; the second, longer section features a sequence of elegies and meditations on art. In The Bounty is divided into two unequal sections. The first consists en- dable technical mastery. The Bounty tation on the struggle for reconciliation and consolation, and it is a "The Bounty," an elegy for his moving record of this process and its relationship to making art. (NK) Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson mother and for the poet John Clare, Walcott reconciles the position of the poet as mourner with that of the poet as maker. Keeping the material in its place, he seems to say, is the only way for a poet to grieve fully and to offer consolation to himself and the Knopf, 1997, 223 pp., $22 Winterson's newest novel traverses reader. He concludes: "No, there is grief, there will always be, but it must not madden,/like Clare ..." The second section of the book be- books, where fairy tale meets sexual bizarre, but unflaggingly articulate, the famUiar territory of her previous politics. The novel explores a trio of characters whose relationships are as gins with a short lyric that tells the 228 · The Missouri Review

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The Missouri ReviewUniversity of Missouri

Published: Oct 5, 1997

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