You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Prodigal

I finally read Derek Walcott's The Prodigal this month. It's a book length poem. I haven't read a long poem (or hardly any poetry) since reading The Iliad a couple of years ago. I don't know if I'm qualified to comment on it, but I will go ahead and get down my thoughts.

The poem is free verse, broken up into several sections, each of which is broken up into "scenes." It tells of the narrator--switching between first, second and third person views--as he travels through parts of America in the beginning, then for most of the of the poem through Italy and other parts of Europe. Finally he returns to his native island, feeling welcomed and comforted. He mentions lost loves, and they are entwined with his memory of places.

The poem was somewhat hard for me to get into; I don't know if this is a comment on its difficulty or my lack of experience reading poetry. I do know that several parts were memorable. I don't know what kind of grade to give it, since I haven't read much comparable literature. I feel like it could use a second reading, though I'm not planning on reading it again.

The ultimate question is: Would I recommend it? Only for someone who is into poetry or Walcott. For the average reader like me, it's not as engaging as other works.


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