Richard Rowan, the hero of James Joyce's Exiles, explains at the beginning of the third act that while he was walking the length of the beach of Dublin Bay, demons could be heard giving him advice. 'The isle is full of voices', Rowan says, adapting a phrase from The Tempest, and this sentence aptly describes Joyce's aesthetics. In his poem Omeros Derek Walcott may well have succeeded in doing for St. Lucia what Joyce did for Ireland and Dublin.1 And he has done so, not in the naturalistic or psychological mode of Exiles, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Mtm or Dubliners, but in the grand manner of the later Joyce's Ulysses. The ambition of Walcotrs poem is clear: the poet measures himself against Homer, Dante, Shakespeare and Joyce. It is an ambition worthy of a Nobel prize.
Lernout, Geert, Derek Walcott's Omeros: The Isle is Full of Voices, Kunapipi, 14(2), 1992.