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10 Notorious Literary Spats

Derek Walcott vs. V.S. Naipaul

In his book, A Writer’s People, Naipaul wrote that Walcott “went stale,” and “exhausted the first flush of his talent.” Walcott then wrote “The Mongoose,” a poem about Naipaul, which begins: “I have been bitten, I must avoid infection/Or else I’ll be as dead as Naipaul’s fiction.” A later part asserts: “The plots are forced, the prose sedate and silly/The anti-hero is a prick named Willie.”