Happy Birthday C.D. Wright!
Carolyn D. Wright (born January 6, 1949) U.S. poet – One With Others (2011)
Born in Arkansas in 1949, Wright wrote over a dozen books of poetry and lyric prose. Her writing is fierce, funny, and as attuned to morality as a compass needle to the north. She was a pioneer of what can be described as “documentary poetry.” Calling herself a “humble factotum” she would alight on a subject and describe it as accurately as possible using the poet’s tools — tone, metaphor, music, voice — rather than the journalist’s, but the goal was essentially the same: to tell the Truth with a capital T.
She was a believer in Emily Dickinson’s mandate to “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” Though by “slant,” both Dickinson and Wright meant something other than the kind of bias that word summons now. They advocate looking at the world from viewpoints and angles most people don’t choose: Dickinson gets her eyes right into the grass to see her “narrow fellow,” and Wright, too, walks right up to her subjects…
[by Craig Morgan Teicher]
Watch an interview with C.D. Wright:
One with Others is a mix of poetry and prose in which Wright examines a racist event. The work began as an homage to an anonymous self-taught, literary friend who lived in the Arkansas Delta in the 1960s. Wright was a teenager when she first met the woman and continued to have a relationship with her until she died a few years ago in New York City.
Wright (Minute 16:25): I felt even though I was a white woman from the Ozarks, that I had a footnote to add to all the wonderful literature about civil rights…
C.D. Wright reads from One With Others
Wright (Minute 10:35): V liked to say, if religion is the opiate of the masses, fundamentalism is the amphetamine that busted us up.
(18:10) Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t know what we’re watching. She’s in her puffy chair, a few feet from her designated death bed. When she sleeps it’s in her pleather chair in front of her television. …She says to me, “I am Rafferty the poet: eyes without sight, mind without torment, going West on my journey. ”