C. D. Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has published 12 previous poetry collections. Her collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster, a journey into the prison-industrial complex entitled One Big Self, was honoured with a Lange-Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies. Wright has also received fellowships from the MacArthur Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Lannan Foundation. In the 1990s she served for five years as the State Poet of Rhode Island. Wright is currently the Israel J. Kapstein Professor of English at Brown University, and lives outside Providence, Rhode Island.
“C. D. Wright’s thirteenth collection, Rising, Falling, Hovering, reminds us what poetry is for. This is poetry as white phosphorus, written with merciless love and depthless anger, but it is ‘not a chemical weapon, it’s an incendiary … it is for illumination’. Rising, Falling, Hovering is about conflict, local and global, and how failures of the heart bring disaster on every scale. In the long poem that anchors this book, Wright ties together the war in Iraq, the war on the poor, the challenges borders present, and family crises to create a portrait of the human soul riven by separateness. It is, primarily, a red-hot political epic, in which Wright states ‘to be ashamed is to be American’ and that ‘happiness is for amateurs’. And yet, how can we react to a poetry this alive with invention and purpose but with joy? In Rising, Falling, Hovering, C. D. Wright wakes the reader – from dreams of both a perfect world and one drowned in horror – to the saving beauty of clear sight. Over a long career marked by deep moral engagement and constant reinvention, Wright has placed herself and her readers ‘at a crossroads’, as she writes, which is not just a place, but ‘the very instant you stopped looking for meaning and began rifling among the folds of feeling instead where things were to be made new again …'”
Deeply personal and politically ferocious, Rising, Falling, Hovering addresses – ‘the commonly felt crises of [our] times’ – from illegal immigration and the specific consequences of empire to the challenges of parenting and the honesty required of human relationships.
Note: Summaries are taken from promotional materials supplied by the publisher, unless otherwise noted.
C.D. Wright reads Re: Happiness, in pursuit thereof
Re: Happiness, in pursuit thereof, by C.D. Wright
Re: Happiness, in pursuit thereof
It is 2005, just before landfall.
Here I am, a labyrinth, and I am a mess.
I am located at the corner of Waterway
and Bluff. I need your help. You will find me
to the left of the graveyard, where the trees
grow especially talkative at night,
where fog and alcohol rub off the edge.
We burn to make one another sing;
to stay the lake that it not boil, earth
not rock. We are running on Aztec time,
fifth and final cycle. Eyes switch on/off.
We would be mercurochrome to one another
bee balm or chamomile. We should be concrete,
glass, and spandex. We should be digital or,
at least, early. Be ivory-billed. Invisible
except to the most prepared observer.
We will be stardust. Ancient tailings
of nothing. Elapsed breath. No,
we must first be ice. Be nails. Be teeth.
From Rising, Falling, Hovering, by C.D. Wright
Copyright 2008 by C.D. Wright
More about C.D. Wright
The following are links to other Web sites with information about poet C.D. Wright. (Note: All links to external Web sites open in a new browser window.)
- C.D. Wright bio and news on Brown University Web site
- Modern American Poetry section on C.D. Wright
- C.D. Wright – Academy of American Poets profile
- C.D. Wright article/review in Open Letters
- C.D. Wright interview in Jacket magazine
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Photo credit: Marnie Crawford Samuelson