Country music: selected early poems by Charles Wright

By Charles Wright

Co-winner of the 1983 nationwide booklet Award for Poetry, nation song is constituted of eighty-eight poems chosen from Charles Wright's first 4 books released among 1970 and 1977. From his first publication, The Grave of the ideal Hand, to the intense China hint, this option of early works represents "Charles Wright's grand passions: his wish to reclaim and redeem a private previous, to make a reckoning together with his current, and to conjure the phrases wherein we'd face the future," writes David St. John within the ahead. those poems, strong and relocating of their personal correct, lend richness and perception to Wright's lately accrued later works. "In nation song we see a similar explosive imagery, a similar dismantled and concentric (or parallel) narratives, an analogous resolutely non secular issues that experience turn into so wide-spread to us in Wright's more moderen poetry," writes St. John.

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Charleville Page 14 Homage to Baron Corvo Of all the poses, of all the roles, This is the one I keep: you pass On the canal, your pope's robes Aflame in a secret light, the four Oars of your gondola white As moth wings in the broken dark, The quail-eyed fisher-boys Sliding the craft like a coffin out to sea; The air grows hard; the boat's wake Settles behind you like a wasted breath.  . Was it the vengeance only That kept you alive, the ripe corkscrew Twisted and deep in the bottle's throat? One afternoonin the late springI went To San Michele, to see The sealed drawer that holds your name, To take you flowers, as one Is moved to do for the dead, and found Not even a vase to put them in.

Page 26 5. What I am trying to say Is thisI tell you, only, the thing That I have come to believe: Indenture yourself to the land; Imagine you touch its raw edges In all weather, time and again; Imagine its colors; try to imitate, day by day, The morning's growth and the dusk, The movement of all their creatures; Surrender yourself, and be glad; This is the law that endures. Page 27 6. The foothills of Tennessee, The mountains of North Carolina, Their rivers and villages Hiwassee and Cherokee, The Cumberland, Pisgah and Nantahala, Unaka and Unicoi Brindle and sing in your blood; Their sounds are the sounds you hear, Their shapes are the shapes you see Regardless, whenever you concentrate Upon the remembered earth All things that are are lights.

Page xvi So, it is with these "sad marks" that Wright begins his attempt to tell not only what it comes to, but whereand whyhis pilgrimage must continue. <><><><><><><><><><><><> China Trace remains one of the most remarkable books of American poetry of recent years. " China Trace is a personal history pushed toward its future; its speaker reaches toward his own death and the desired salvation it may or may not bring. In the course of these poems, Wright often clearly does not believe, yet he feels called upon to continue the search that his spiritual yearnings have prompted.

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