Tag Archives: Charles Wright

WordsDay contest: you all lose

When we created the new WordsDay graphic above a few weeks back we challenged everybody to name all the authors. Some of you took a shot, and I think the best set of guesses got about 10 of 15 right.

So, for those of you who have been dying of curiosity, here are the answers. Left to right:

  1. William Butler Yeats
  2. Audre Lorde
  3. Bill Shakespeare Read more

ArtSunday: the nonlinearity of influence

“I’m interested in what motivates you, and how you understand the world.” He glanced sideways at her. “Rausch tells me you’ve written about music.”

“Sixties garage bands. I started writing about them when I was still in the Curfew.””Were they an inspiration?”

She was watching a fourteen-inch display on the Maybach’s dash, the red cursor that was the car proceeding along the green line that was Sunset. She looked up at him. “Not in any linear way, musically. They were my favorite bands. Are,” she corrected herself.

He nodded.

William Gibson, Spook Country

I’ve always been intrigued by the curious dynamic of influence. Read more

ArtSunday: Impressionism exhibit offers a lesson in tradition and rebellion

[An artist] should copy the masters and re-copy them, and after he has given every evidence of being a good copyist, he might then reasonably be allowed to do a radish, perhaps, from Nature. – Edgar Degas

I went to see the “Inspiring Impressionism” exhibit yesterday at the Denver Art Museum and came away struck by how remarkably it addressed questions of influence and originality in art, issues that have long been central to my own thinking and writing. As a poet, I’ve long been aware of the debt I owe the masters whose genius has shaped my own work, and if my efforts pale in comparison, they’re at least less meager than they would have been had I not spent so much time in the company of Donne, Shakespeare, Yeats, Hopkins, Wright, Thomas, and perhaps most especially, Eliot. Read more

VerseDay: The “Song” of Brigit Pegeen Kelly

Not long ago I was bitching about how utterly banal I think a lot of contemporary poetry is. Shortly thereafter I got a note from scrogue JS O’Brien saying he thought I might appreciate a poet he knew a little about, Brigit Pegeen Kelly.

So I hit my Internets and tracked her down. The first poem of hers that I came across is called “Song,” and it’s the title track of her 1995 book. In the spirit of “show, don’t tell,” let me begin by asking you to read it. Read more

VerseDay: in praise of transcendent poetry and good poetry teachers

In fall of 1987 I was in my first semester of an English MA program at Iowa State, and was taking a seminar in contemporary American poets. The class was an eye-opener for me, as I’d not read many poets later than Dylan Thomas, and if you’re going to be a real writer it’s always helpful to know a thing or two about the present day, right?

One of the writers we were reading was Charles Wright, a fellow Southerner who’s won a lot of awards and prizes, up to and including the Pulitzer. I have come to regard him as our finest living poet (although I have to admit that since I still don’t read as many contemporaries as I should, there may be somebody out there better that I just haven’t found yet).

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