19 pages 38 minutes read

Derek Walcott

Adam's Song

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1985

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Paradise Lost By John Milton (1674)

Not only was Walcott’s first poem an imitation of John Milton’s style, “Adam’s Song” draws as heavily from Milton’s retelling of the Garden of Eden narrative as it does from the Old Testament. Milton’s Paradise Lost is a book-length reimagining of the fall of mankind from the Garden of Eden. Many aspects of Milton’s retelling, such as Satan’s involvement as the serpent that tempts Eve, have become commonplace interpretations that resonate with Walcott’s own retelling of humanity’s fall.

The Sick Rose” By William Blake (1794)

From William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience, “The Sick Rose” is an abstracted reinterpretation of the Christian fall of mankind. Blake’s poem, particularly compared to Walcott’s, relies on metaphor and symbolism to retell the story in a condensed and more traditionally abstracted form. Comparing Blake’s Romantic take with Walcott’s postmodern take on the fall of mankind showcases Walcott’s loose yet more direct engagement with the relevant themes.

Sea Grapes” By Derek Walcott (1976)

“Sea Grapes,” the titular work of the collection where “Adam’s Song” originally appeared, can be read as a bridge between “Adam’s Song” and Walcott’s his 1990 Homeric epic Omeros.