The sigh of History rises over ruins, not over landscapes, and in the Antilles there are few ruins to sigh over, apart from the ruins of sugar estates and abandoned forts.

Derek Walcott

Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic.

Derek Walcott

A culture, we all know, is made by its cities.

Derek Walcott

Because that is what such a city is, in the New World, a writer’s heaven.

Derek Walcott

Read more quotes from these Nobel Laureates in Literature:

Doris LessingAlice MunroKazuo IshiguroJean Paul Sartre
Mario Vargas LlosaBob DylanPearl S. Buck Albert Camus
J. M. CoetzeeOrhan PamukV.S. Naipaul Seamus Heaney
Ernest HemingwayNadine GordimerG√ľnter GrassKenzaburo Oe
Harold PinterDario FoJose SaramagoWislawa Szymborska
Wole SoyinkaOctavio PazAndre GideGabriel Garcia Marquez
Patrick WhitePablo NerudaSamuel BeckettShmuel Y. Agnon
Bertrand RussellNaguib MahfouzJoseph BrodskyJohn Steinbeck
Salvatore Quasimodo Aleksandr SolzhenitsynThomas MannHermann Hesse

Break a vase, and the love that reassembles the fragments is stronger than that love which took its symmetry for granted when it was whole.

Derek Walcott

If you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.

Derek Walcott

Memory that yearns to join the centre, a limb remembering the body from which it has been severed, like those bamboo thighs of the god.

Derek Walcott

The personal vocabulary, the individual melody whose metre is one’s biography, joins in that sound, with any luck, and the body moves like a walking, a waking island.

Derek Walcott

This is Port of Spain to me, a city ideal in its commercial and human proportions, where a citizen is a walker and not a pedestrian, and this is how Athens may have been before it became a cultural echo.

Derek Walcott

Visual surprise is natural in the Caribbean; it comes with the landscape, and faced with its beauty, the sigh of History dissolves.

Derek Walcott

We make too much of that long groan which underlines the past.

Derek Walcott

The English language is nobody’s special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself.

Derek Walcott