Walcott, Derek, 1930-, West Indian dramatist and poet, b. Castries, St. Lucia, grad. Univ. College of West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, 1954. His grandfathers were both white, one of English, the other of Dutch extraction; his grandmothers were both brown-skinned West Indians of African background. He has spent most of his life in various parts of the West Indies, including St. Thomas, Barbados, Grenada, and for a long period Trinidad, where he was a journalist and founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. Walcott's meticulously honed poems and evocative dramas exalt the English language while also using a rich mix of Latin, French, and patois. Skillfully fusing folk culture and oral tradition with the classical and avant-garde, he writes eloquently of the history, landscape, everyday life, and multiracial peoples of the islands. He also examines of his own African and European heritage, addressing personal conflicts, many of which arise from his mixed-race background.

Often focusing on West Indian folk traditions, Walcott's plays include Dream on Monkey Mountain (1970), The Joker of Seville (1975), Remembrance: Pantomime (1980), A Branch of the Blue Nile (1986), The Odyssey (1992), and The Capeman (1997), a musical (and Broadway flop) written with Paul Simon. Walcott's verse collections include the breakthrough In a Green Night (1962), which first brought him to international attention, and the autobiographical Another Life (1973) as well as Sea Grapes (1976), Midsummer (1984), and The Bounty (1997). His epic poem Omeros (1990) echoes and reimagines Homer's Iliad and Odyssey as it examines the Caribbean's colonial past and complex present. Tiepolo's Hound (2001), in which he interweaves his own story with that of the St. Thomas-born painter Camille Pissarro, and The Prodigal (2004), the poet's memoir of journey and return and a meditation on fame and death, are also book-length narrative poems. Walcott is also a skilled realist painter, whose cover art and illustrations have sometimes accompanied his poetry. He lives in St. Lucia and the United States, where he has taught at several universities. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992.

See his Selected Poems (ed. by E. Baugh, 2007); biography by B. A. King (2000); W. Baer, Conversations with Derek Walcott (1996); studies by N. Thomas (1980), R. Terada (1992), R. D. Hamner (1981, rev. ed. 1993; as ed., 1993), B. A. King (1995), and J. L. Espejo and J. M. P. Fernández, ed. (2001).

Derek is a male name of English and Old German origin, derived from the same root as the Old German Theodoric, meaning power of the tribe or ruler of the people. Variants recently revived are Deryk, Deric, Derak and the Dutch form Dirk, popularised by the actor Dirk Bogarde. In recent years it has been used occasionally as a family name, for example Bo Derek.

Derek may refer to:


Fictional characters

Creative arts

Painting, sculpture, fashion



Performing arts

Acting, presenting



Athletics (track and field)


  • Derek Bell (born 1968), former Major League Baseball player
  • Derek Jeter (born 1974), American baseball player (shortstop)
  • Derek Lilliquist (born 1966) Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the First round in 1987. Last pitched Sept. 6, 1996
  • Derek Lowe (born 1973), American baseball player
  • Derek Tatsuno (born c. 1959), American college baseball player
  • Derek Gianakas (born c. 1986), American college baseball player, Minor League Baseball Player Baltimore Orioles


Boxing and wrestling

Car racing


Football (American and Canadian)

Football (soccer)

Football (other rules)

Sports on ice

Other sports


Science, education and academic



  • Derek Bentley (1933-1953), Englishman hanged for murder and subsequently pardoned
  • Derek Anthony Seagrim (1903-1943), English soldier and recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Derek Wood, one of two British Army corporals shot and killed in Northern Ireland in 1988

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