Derek Walcott landed a poetic broadside on Trinidadian novelist V.S. Naipaul as he ended his 'Chatterbox' stint at the 2008 Calabash International Literary Festival on Saturday afternoon at Jake's in Treasure Beach, St Elizabeth.
The Nobel laureate for literature followed an onstage interview with Kwame Dawes with poetry from his upcoming collection, White Egrets, but a lot of the sting was in the tail as he closed with 'The Mongoose'.It was quickly made clear that the beast he was referring to did not run around in literal cane pieces, as Walcott started the long poem with:"I have been bittenI must avoid infectionOr else I will be as deadAs Naipaul's fiction."Walcott said the writer now worked with "a lethargy approaching the obscene" and observed "so the old mongoose still making money is a burnt-out comic", dismissing him as "a rodent in old age".
Here is a more in-depth view of the feud from Daniel Trilling at the New Statesman. Read it here.