I hate all that nonsense about not touching the colonialists' language. All that about it being corrupting and belonging to the master and making you Caliban. That thinking just denies you an outlet. You deny everything that is great from a language, whether it is Conrad or Shakespeare.
The country that I was coming from, the island I was in, hadn't been written about, really. So I thought that I virtually had it all to myself, including the language that was spoken there, which was a French Creole, and a landscape that is not recorded, really, and the people.
You would get some fantastic syntactical phenomena. You would hear people talking in Barbados in the exact melody as a minor character in Shakespeare. Because here you have a thing that was not immured and preserved and mummified, but a voluble language, very active, very swift, very sharp.
I go back to St. Lucia, and the exhilaration I feel is not simply the exhilaration of homecoming and of nostalgia. It is almost an irritation of feeling: 'Well, you never got it right. Now you have another chance. Maybe you can try and look harder.'
When I come to England, I don't claim England; I don't own it. I feel a great kinship because of the literature and the landscape. I have great affection for Edward Thomas and Philip Larkin, but there's still this distance: looking on at what I'm admiring, separate from what I am. And that's OK.
My delight in things is definitely Caribbean. It has to do with landscape and food. The fact that my language may have a metrical direction is because that's the shape of the language. I didn't make that shape.
A long time ago, I thought, as a writer in the Caribbean, 'I don't ever want to have to write 'It was great in Paris.'' Because I don't think, proportionately speaking, that one's experience in a city as opposed to, say, a village in St. Lucia, is superior to the other.