Books: Islands in The Stream

Poet Derek Walcott spins a luminous meditation on visual art

A minor curiosity of art history: Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), a leading French Impressionist painter, friend and mentor to Cezanne and Gauguin, was born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Thomas. An item of literary history: Derek Walcott (1930- ), who would grow up to win the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born and raised on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

What these two isolated facts have to do with each other is made resplendently luminous in Walcott's Tiepolo's Hound (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 164 pages; $30), a long narrative poem with a number of stories on its...

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