The Poetry of Charles Wright
The selected works of one of our finest American poets
The thread that dangles us
between a dark and a darker dark,
Is luminous, sure, but smooth sided.
Don’t touch it here, and don’t touch it there.
Don’t touch it, in fact, anywhere—
Let it dangle and hold us hard, let it flash and swing.
—from “Scar Tissue”
Over the course of his work—more than twenty books in total—Charles Wright has built “one of the truly distinctive bodies of poetry created in the second half of the twentieth century” (David Young, Contemporary Poets). Oblivion Banjo, a capacious new selection spanning his decades-long career, showcases the central themes of Wright’s poetry: “language, landscape, and the idea of God.” No matter the precise subject of each poem, on display here is a vast and rich interior life, a mind wrestling with the tenuous relationship between the ways we describe the world and its reality.
The recipient of almost every honor in poetry—the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize, to name a few—and a former poet laureate of the United States, Wright is an essential voice in American letters. Oblivion Banjo is the perfect distillation of his inimitable career—for devout fans and newcomers alike.