Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Poetic Injustice 

Wednesday, Nov 18 1998
Possibly the greatest living poet and playwright to be ignored by the San Francisco stage in the last couple of years is Derek Walcott, 1992's Nobel laureate in literature. He flopped on Broadway 11 months ago with a musical called The Capeman -- co-written with Paul Simon and choreographed by Mark Morris -- but his earlier plays, like Dream on Monkey Mountain, The Sea at Dauphin, and the Don Juan musical The Joker of Seville, have established him as a genius of modern theater. Walcott's writing is colorful, raunchy, whimsical, grave; his poems and plays are populated with impoverished blacks living in salt-bitten villas and shacks on torpid West Indian islands like his native St. Lucia. But the author has lived here long enough to evoke the U.S. too, as the end of his poem "North and South" suggests: "I collect my change from a small-town pharmacy/ The cashier's fingertips still wince from my hand as if it would singe hers -- well, yes, je suis un singe/ I am one of that tribe of frenetic and melancholy/ Primates who made your music for many more moons/ Than all the silver quarters in the till."

As part of the City Arts & Lectures Series, Walcott will speak on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Herbst Theater, 401 Van Ness (at McAllister), S.F. Admission is $16; call 392-4400.

-- Michael Scott Moore


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"