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Abstract

This essay examines the loud resonance of aging as a worrisome concern in The Prodigal, a poetic autobiography which its creator, Derek Walcott, has described as “an old man’s book/whenever you write it, whenever it comes out” (8). The essay argues that this long poem is both personal and performative. In The Prodigal, Walcott intimately explores the aging process and the biological deterioration it engenders as bringing him closer to death; at the same time he becomes the synecdoche for the aging artist who capitulates to diminished social and cultural relevance.

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