Caribou
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Caribou

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by Charles Wright
     
 

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A powerfully moving meditation on life and the beyond, from one of our finest American poets

Charles Wright’s truth—the truth of nature, of man’s yearning for the divine, of aging—is at the heart of the renowned poet’s latest collection, Caribou. This is an elegy to transient beauty, a song for the "stepchild hour, /

Overview

A powerfully moving meditation on life and the beyond, from one of our finest American poets

Charles Wright’s truth—the truth of nature, of man’s yearning for the divine, of aging—is at the heart of the renowned poet’s latest collection, Caribou. This is an elegy to transient beauty, a song for the "stepchild hour, / belonging to neither the light nor dark, / The hour of disappearing things," and an expression of Wright’s restless questing for a reality beyond the one before our eyes ("We are all going into a world of dark . . . It’s okay. That’s where the secrets are, / The big ones, the ones too tall to tell"). Caribou’s strength is in its quiet, wry profundity.

     "It’s good to be here," Wright tells us. "It’s good to be where the world’s quiescent, and reminiscent." And to be here—in the pages of this stirring collection—is more than good; Caribou is another remarkable gift from the poet around whose influence "the whole world seems to orbit in a kind of meditative, slow circle" (Poetry).

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 03/31/2014
“Musician says, beauty is the enemy of expression./ I say expression is the enemy of beauty./ God says, who gives a damn anyway”—that’s how Wright tells a joke. Indeed, his latest collection (after 2013’s Bollingen Prize–winning Bye-and-Bye) is a dexterous balance of lightness in dark. Split in three parts, all named for things cast off or left over—”Echoes,” “End Papers,” “Apocrypha”—the book is rife with nihilism, humor, and beauty: “This is as old man’s poetry,/ written by someone who’s spent his life/ Looking for one truth./ Sorry, pal, there isn’t one./ Unless, of course, the trees and their blow-down relatives/ Are part of it./ Unless the late-evening armada of clouds/ Spanished along the horizon are part of it.” To Wright, careful observation of the world and the self is the closest we can come to God: “I tried to make a small hole in my life, something to slip through/ To the other side.” As for dealing with a metaphysical lack, even if “e live beyond the metaphysician’s fingertips,” and “here is no metaphor, there is no simile,/ and there is no rhetoric/ to nudge us to their caress... The trees remain the trees, God help us.” Wright once again delivers the kind of poetry we cannot imagine poetry without. (Mar.)
From the Publisher
“Inside [Wright’s] lyric, there resides a world well beyond the ordinary . . . It is the heart and soul that he delivers so eloquently.” —Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times
Library Journal
★ 03/01/2014
Like those in Wright's 2009's Sestets, the lyrical meditations in this latest collection consider the impermanence of human existence within the relative permanence of the natural world. On the threshold of 80 ("This is an old man's poetry"), the poet faces mortality with a candid, if often deflating, awareness that eventually we find ourselves "surrounded by everything we have failed to do," our memories "merely the things we forgot to forget." A generic setting of creeks, clouds, trees, moons, and stars, Wright's strangely depopulated world takes on a haunting yet familiar presence, inspiring both Zen wisdom ("empty yourself of yourself") and dark wit ("…you've said your piece. Now rest in it."). VERDICT Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, among other honors, Wright offers up a spare, no-nonsense approach that serves his subjects well, enabling a kind of spiritual poetry for those who resist spirituality. Pointed as ever, his work continues to engage and explore life's unsolvable mysteries. [See "Ten Essential Poetry Titles for Winter 2014," Prepub Alert, 9/30/13.]—Fred Muratori, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374119027
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
03/18/2014
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
1,301,135
Product dimensions:
5.96(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.58(d)

Meet the Author

Charles Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the 2013 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry, lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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Caribou: Poems 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beauty and profundity of many of these poems are beyond commentary. For example, here is the shortest, " ' THINGS HAVE ENDS AND BEGINNINGS ' ": Cloud mountains rise over mountain range. Silence and quietness, sky bright as water, sky bright as lake water. Grace is the instinct for knowing when to stop. And where.