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Deepstep Come Shining

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Overview


Rebellious and fiercely lyrical, the poems of C.D. Wright incorporate elements of disjunction and odd juxtaposition in their exploration of unfolding context. "In my book," she writes, "poetry is a necessity of life. It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so."

C.D. Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has received numerous awards for her work, including grants from the National Endowment for ...

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Deepstep Come Shining

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Overview


Rebellious and fiercely lyrical, the poems of C.D. Wright incorporate elements of disjunction and odd juxtaposition in their exploration of unfolding context. "In my book," she writes, "poetry is a necessity of life. It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so."

C.D. Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has received numerous awards for her work, including grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters, and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation. She teaches at Brown University in Rhode Island.

"Expertly elliptical phrasings, and an uncounterfeitable, generous feel for real people, bodies and places, have lately made Wright one of America's oddest, best and most appealing poets. Her tenth book consists of a single long poem whose sentences, segments and prose-blocks weave loosely around and about, and grow out of, a road trip through the rural South. Clipped twangs, lyrical ‘goblets of magnolialight,’ and recurrent, mysterious, semi-allegorical figures like ‘the snakeman’ and ‘the boneman’ share space with place names, lexicographies, exhortations and wacky graffiti (‘God is Louise’).… cherish Wright's latest ‘once-and-for-all thing, opaque and revelatory, ceaselessly burning.’"—Publishers Weekly

"For me, C.D. Wright's poetry is river gold. 'Love whatever flows.' Her language is on the page half pulled out of earth and rivers—still holding onto the truth of the elements. I love her voice and pitch and the long snaky arms of her language that is willing to hold everything—human and angry and beautiful."—Michael Ondaatje

"C.D. Wright is entirely her own poet, a true original."—The Gettysburg Review

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Expertly elliptical phrasings, and an uncounterfeitable, generous feel for real people, bodies and places, have lately made Wright one of America's oddest, best and most appealing poets. Her tenth book consists of a single long poem whose sentences, segments and prose-blocks weave loosely around and about, and grow out of, a road trip through the rural South. Clipped twangs, lyrical "goblets of magnolialight," and recurrent, mysterious, semi-allegorical figures like "the snakeman" and "the boneman" share space with place names, lexicographies, exhortations and wacky graffiti ("God is Louise"). Wright alternates private references with clear allusions, as when images of eye enucleations and glass eyes culminate in a flurry of bits from King Lear. Deepstep teems with wry, rich sentences no one else could have written: "I left my chicory-blue swimsuit back at the motel where the baseball team cannonballed us out of the pool." She leaps exhilaratingly among verbal registers--from "kenatoprosthesis" to "trailer skirt," from "Arkansas toe" and "pinball" to "Ultima Thule." And she loves double meanings--"Morning glories. What's yours." Her uncharacteristically extroverted, ethnographic project also shows her sense of humor--"Her Aunt Flo said she hadn't had any in so long she'd done growed back together." In sorting these glittering, interlocking fragments of "self-conscious Southern poetry, preposterous as a wedding dress," some readers will wish Wright had included notes, or explained her extensive back story; but no one will need more information to cherish Wright's latest "once-and-for-all thing, opaque and revelatory, ceaselessly burning." (Sept.)
Library Journal
Better known for his fiction e.g., Bird Blues, Mercury House, 1996 and several anthologies of African American literture, Major has produced a steady stream of poetry. However, almost a decade has elapsed since his last poetry book Some Observations of a Stranger at Zuni in the Latter Part of the Century, Sun & Moon Pr., 1990, and previously uncollected poems make up more than a third of this volume. At his best, Major writes with a painter's eye. In his early work, his New York City neighborhood portraits stand out the fights heard through the kitchen walls, the junkies. Fifteen years later, this same studied eye examines Venetians in "Surfaces and Masks." When he stays fairly close to the images presented him, his poetry is excellent; when he plays surrealist, juxtaposing unlikely images, the poems jar. Both the new poems and the selections range from the frivolous to the memorable, but the volume closes with Major's strongest work, "The Slave Trade: View from the Middle Passage." This 18-page piece assumes epic proportions. Highly recommended.--Rochelle Ratner, formerly with "Soho Weekly News," New York
Kirkus Reviews
This Arkansas-born Brown professor has written numerous books of verse and has also collaborated on multimedia exhibits about her native state, which shows in this unusual verse novel, an unholy marriage of Kerouac"s bop prosody and Flannery O"Connor"s southern gothic sensibility. Stylistically, it also brings to mind Anne Carson"s similarly collage-like verse novel, Autobiography of Red, though Wright draws not on classical literature, but on a wild mix of pop lyrics, down-home imagery, readings on optics, and just about anything else that plunks into consciousness. Framed as a car ride through the South, Wright visits only places of iconic significance or sonorous glee, from Poetry, Georgia, to Hamlet, N.C. (birthplace of John Coltrane). Lots of sass-talk punctuates the journey ("Shit. I burned the shit out of my shit-eating tongue"), and typography provides at least some visual variation in this self-consciously cinematic narrative. As tough-talking as much of this is, Wright indulges in moments of pathos for AIDS victims and a child blinded by Agent Orange. Careful to establish her white-trash authenticity ("Trailer living was appealing when I was seventeen"), Wright too often gives in to Forrest Gump"like pearls of wisdom and lame bits of anarchic humor. Wright"s unique voice is all rhythm, sometimes dizzying and delightful, and sometimes simply incoherent.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781556590924
  • Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 706,146
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


C.D. Wright, a Professor of English at Brown University, is the author of eleven books of poetry, as well as several collaborative works with photographer Deborah Luster, most recently One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana. She has earned fellowships from the MacArthur and Guggenheim foundations, and is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Award. She lives in Rhode Island.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    creepy, but good

    In this work, Wright captures the experience of a Southern road trip exploring a persistent motif of eyes, sight, and elements of Voodoo-like ritual. The form shifting style breaks the longer piece into smaller units of thought and propels the reader through the sparse lyrical narrative. This book is driven largely by image and written in a fragmentary style that begs the reader to fill in the gaps. Not exactly light reading, but certainly an excellent book.

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