Tribute to C.D. Wright by Anna Ross

ON NOT JOINING: REMEMBERING C.D. WRIGHT

by Anna Ross

C .D. Wright, Language poet; C.D. Wright, elliptical poet; C.D. Wright, poet of the Ozarks, of Arkansas, erotic poet, poet of conscience, of place, of reportage, ekphrastic poet, elegiac poet. Poetry is the weird one: funny-looking on the page, resolutely non-commercial, refusing the neat thesis or linear narrative, and those of us who practice it often find ourselves in a defensive, explanatory crouch in the face of the question “So, what kind of poetry do you write?” As often, we acquiesce, labeling ourselves by school or influence either out of guilt for having introduced the awkward subject in the first place with our presence or because the stage, by its smallness, invites division. C. D. Wright, whom we lost suddenly and much too soon just over a week ago, never succumbed to this pressure. As she wrote in her National Book Critic’s Circle Award-winning One With Others, a book-length telling of Wright’s friend “V’s” participation in the 1969 Arkansas March Against Fear and the repercussions of that act, “[Where was it you wanted to bury this hatchet. Your land or mine.]”

 

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