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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    C.D. Wright speaking at Poetry Center tomorrow

    A lovely group of us gathered this Tuesday evening at the Poetry Center for a Shop Talk of C.D. Wright lead by Sam Ace.

    We discussed the Ozark native Wright’s work thematically, rather than chronologically, as she’s been publishing since the late ‘70s and has quite the rap sheet. Wright is seemingly a documentary poet – someone who catalogues and records events. Fittingly she’s written some highly political works.

    Among the works we spoke of, I found One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana to be an especially intriguing collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster. The work focused on the prisoners of Louisiana. Each profile of the individual prisoners has their docket number, sentence, length what work they do, when they entered the prison and more.

    If you’re going to Wright’s reading on Thursday, which you should, think/keep your ears open for some of these themes in her work: desire (she’s quite upfront with sexuality), Frank Stanford, a former lover who killed himself (how might an event like that effect an artist and their work?), documentary (she’s artistic in this endeavor) collaborations (what might she gain from collaborating? How might photographs enhance or change the written word?) and physicality.

    This last one I played with during our discussion – was it just the physical taking place in her work, a focus on bodies and the tangible? Was it the interaction of the poem in the physical world or the action of her writing the poem (as she says herself, “lifted off the ends of the fingers”)? Was it the physicality of her words, and their placement on the page? It seems like it’s all of that, and more.

    Come hear for yourself the mind-rousing work of C.D. Wright at the Poetry Center, 7pm, on Thursday Sept. 13. The next Shop Talk, about Carl Phillips, will be held at the Poetry Center on October 30, 6pm, at the Poetry Center.

    Follow us at @wildcatarts and follow Jeannie Wood at @jwwwood.

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