“I am suggesting that the radical of poetry lies not in the resolution of doubts but in their proliferation”
― C.D. Wright


I’m reading C. D. Wright’s last published work: The Poet, The Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All. It is a marvelous text, a collection of essays — or rather an assemblage of fragments, reflections and ideas. A poetics, and also a history lesson.

I’ll show you some fragments:

In a word
A world 

My relationship to the word is anything but scientific; it is a matter of faith on my part, that the word endows material substance, by setting the thing named apart from all else. Horse, then, unhorses what is not horse.

The painter Ed Ruscha is reported to have claimed:

Bad art is “Wow! Huh?”

Good art is “Huh? Wow!”


Chiara Banfi: Confluence 5 (detail), 2015, mixed media, dimensions variable.


Poetry is hard to abuse except by writing it poorly, and then the damage, face it, is finite.

In a word
A world

I like nouns that go up: loft. And ones that sink: mud. I like the ones that peck: chicken. And canter: canter. Those that comfort: flannel and pelt. Cell is an excellent word, in that it sweetly fulfills its assigned sound in a small, thin container. (…) What a thing that a syllable – birth, time, space, death – points to the major mysteries with such simplicity, as with a silent finger. And to our very vital parts: head, snout, heart, butt.

And our fundamental feeling: fear.


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