Tuesday, September 22, 2009
C.D. Wright is a poet who defies labels. Over a distinguished career and twelve published volumes of poetry, prose, and a slippery mix of the two, she has continually reinvented herself.
Variously described as narrative, experimental, Southern, deeply personal, and fiercely political, Wright credits her roots in the Arkansas Ozarks for her resistance to joining a single, identifying “ism” of the poetry world—she was born to a stubborn independence. And the breadth of her range is as great as the remove between her home state and her adopted one, Rhode Island, where she has taught for more than 25 years at Brown University.
Wright is on The University of Texas at Austin campus for two weeks as the current Michener Residency Award Author, conducting a workshop with poetry MFA candidates of the Michener Center for Writers. Her visit will conclude with a public reading of her own work on Thursday, September 24.
Recognized with fellowship support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bunting Institute, and the Guggenheim Foundation, a MacArthur “genius” grant, a Whiting Award, and a Lannan Literary Award, Wright’s work includes the book-length poem “Deepstep Come Shining;” a collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster on inmates in the Louisiana Prison system,” One Big Self;” and her own quirky ars poetica “Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil.”
This year, her newest book, “Rising, Falling, Hovering,” won the 2009 Griffin Poetry International Prize. The judges citation calls it a “red-hot political epic . . . poetry as white phosphorus, written with merciless love and depthless anger. ’Rising, Falling, Hovering’ is about conflict, local and global, and how failures of the heart bring disaster on every scale.”
She will read at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 24 at the Avaya Auditorium, ACE 2.302, on the southeast corner of 24th Street and Speedway on campus.