West Indian poet Derek Walcott, a former visiting Harvard professor who departed the University in a cloud of controversy 10 years ago, won the 1992 Nobel Prize in Literature yesterday for his writings evoking the cultural mix of the Caribbean.
"In him, West Indian culture has found its great poet," the Swedish Academy said. It cited his "melodious and sensitive" style, and said his "historical vision" was the outcome of a multicultural commitment."
The award is worth $1.2 million.
A visiting professor for the 1982 spring semester, Walcott was charged with sexual harassment by one of his first-year students, whose name was never released.
Although Walcott never publicly admitted to sexually harassment, the College took formal action against the professor. Former Dean of the Faculty Henry Rosovsky refused to disclose the nature of the action taken against Walcott, calling it "a family matter" for the College.
The student, who received the only C in the course, petitioned for reevaluation of her work, saying that Walcott last objectivity toward her "the moment he harassed [her]."
Walcott, in a conversation with Rosovsky, said that the grade reflected a fair evaluation of the student's work.
Walcott now teachers literature and creative writing at Boston University.
This article was written using wire service reports.