Questioning the Poetics of Relation and Home in Selected Works of Derek Walcott and Dennis Brutus

Nche Andzeuh, Joan. 2020. Questioning the Poetics of Relation and Home in Selected Works of Derek Walcott and Dennis Brutus. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

My thesis brings into Relation (Glissant, 2010) the poetry of Derek Walcott from St Lucia and Dennis Brutus from South Africa. Through the central question how might Relation, evident in the writings of Walcott and Brutus, serve as a poetic medium inconstructing notions of Home and revising concepts of the human? In the wake of colonialism and slavery, my concern lies with how Walcott and Brutus’ poetry functions to offer spaces that re-present humans and landscapes that have historically been portrayed as marginal. Using a comparative and post-colonial approach, I offer a reading of the poets’ literary representations of their societies with reference to slavery on the plantation in the Caribbean and segregation in apartheid South Africa, to highlight a delinking (Mignolo, 2011) from past servitude and a re-constructing of thepresent. I suggest in chapter one that each poet in the poetic construction of his society engages with issues of displacement and exile to revise notions of Home. In chapter two, I show how through landscape painting each poet praises the beauty of Home and relates man with the landscape as a means towards the reclaiming of place. In chapter three, I explore the poet’s use of the imagery of the wound to uncover thepast and heal historical injuries while in chapter four the poets embrace a cross-cultural poetics to offer a particular assertion of Home and belonging. Drawing from Edward Said’s counter writing poetics and Glissant’s Poetics of Relation, I argue for a relational poetics that considers the multi-racial nature of the regions under study. Focusing on Glissant’s Creolisation theory, I conclude that this process of a new beginning and an openness in Relation to others are necessary for appreciating thepoets’ shared humanist poetics and their representations of post-independenceassertion of identities in their societies.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Relation, Home, Poetics, Belonging

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature > Centre for Caribbean Studies


31 December 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Jun 2021 16:04

Last Modified:

31 Dec 2023 02:28


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