From the Nobel laureate, a book-length poem on two educations in painting, a century apart
"Between me and Venice the thigh of a hound;
my awe of the ordinary, because even as I write,
paused on a step of this couplet, I have never found
its image again, a hound in astounding light."
Tiepolo's Hound joins the quests of two Caribbean men: Camille Pissarro--a Sephardic Jew born in 1830 who leaves his native St. Thomas to follow his vocation as a painter in Paris--and the poet himself, who longs to rediscover a detail--"a slash of pink on the inner thigh / of a white hound"--of a Venetian painting encountered on an early visit from St. Lucia to New York. Both journeys take us through a Europe of the mind's eye, in search of a connection between the lost, actual landscape of a childhood and the mythical landscape of empire.
Published with twenty-five full-color reproductions of Derek Walcott's own paintings, the poem is at once the spiritual biography of a great artist in self-imposed exile, a history in verse of Impressionist painting, and a memoir of the poet's desire to catch the visual world in more than words.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Derek Walcott was born in St. Lucia in 1930. His Collected Poems: 1948-1984 was published by FSG in 1986; his subsequent works include the book-length poem Omeros (FSG, 1990) and The Bounty (FSG, 1997). He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.
After writing the Odyssey of his native St. Lucia with Omeros (1990), the epic poem that helped earn him the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature, Walcott has increasingly sought to sensualize the Caribbean landscape within the competing contexts of colonialism, history and Western artistc traditions. The dual narrative of his latest book-length poem looks at these inheritances by intertwining the career of impressionist Camille Pissarro, who was a Sephardic Jew from St. Thomas, with the poet's own quest to revisit a Venetian painting, of a hound, he once saw in New York. As a painter himself, Walcott associates his narrator's artistic island origins with Pissarro's in smooth, masterful couplets: "I still smell linseed oil in the wild views/ Of villages and the tang of turpentine... Salt wind encouraged us, and the surf's white noise." As the poet makes his way toward Venice and "Tiepolo's Hound," his journey mirrors Pissarro's transition from St. Thomas to Europe. Place names serve as the poem's focal points, forming an extended near-sestina: the names Pontoise; Paris; the Seine; St Thomas's Dronningens Street and Charlotte Amalie; and the ubiquitous "Tiepolo's ceiling" appear again and again. While the repetitions give a powerful sense of cultural geography, Walcott is not committed to giving us his characters's whole story, but rather a sort of embellished art-history-in-verse, as he imagines Pissarro in Paris, or how Pissarro would have painted slaves, "the umber and ebony of their skin." The narrator's eventual reunion with the painting thus proves something of an anti-climax, as he hasn't generated enough psychological tension to sustain an epic. Still, Walcott's majestic linguistic vistas will be more than enough to carry readers through gorgeously imagined encounters with painters, painting and the visual nostalgia of the exile. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110374105871
Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0374105871