Littlefoot

Overview

Littlefoot, the eighteenth book from one of this country’s most acclaimed poets, is an extended meditation on mortality, on the narrator’s search of the skies for a road map and for last instructions on “the other side of my own death.” Following the course of one year, the poet’s seventieth, we witness the seasons change over his familiar postage stamps of soil, realizing that we are reflected in them, that the true affinity is between writer and subject, human and nature, one becoming the other, as the river is...

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Littlefoot

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Overview

Littlefoot, the eighteenth book from one of this country’s most acclaimed poets, is an extended meditation on mortality, on the narrator’s search of the skies for a road map and for last instructions on “the other side of my own death.” Following the course of one year, the poet’s seventieth, we witness the seasons change over his familiar postage stamps of soil, realizing that we are reflected in them, that the true affinity is between writer and subject, human and nature, one becoming the other, as the river is like our blood, “it powers on, / out of sight, out of mind.” Seeded with lyrics of old love songs and spirituals, here we meet solitude, resignation, and a glad cry that while a return to the beloved earth is impossible, “all things come from splendor,” and the urgent question that the poet can’t help but ask: “Will you miss me when I’m gone?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If Nature is a haunted house, as Emily Dickinson told us, and Art a house that tries to be haunted, then Wright has created in Littlefoot one of the most satisfyingly possessed landscapes of his career . . . Inside his 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

“Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs don’t often get mentioned in the works of Pultizer Prize-winning writers, but that’s precisely what puts Charles Wright in his unique position among contemporary poets. Somewhere in his work, layered with echoes of the masters, there is always room to connect his highly polished poems to the world where most of us lead mundane lives . . . More often than not, [Littlefoot] is a celebration, which is something else that sets Wright apart . . . [Wright] speaks with a sadness that makes the uplifting moments quite credible. Mortality is as inescapable in Wright’s depiction of life as it is in life itself.” —Dionisio Martinez, Miami Herald

“By using a combination of short poetic sections and long and stepped-down lines, Wright blends dense, musical imagery with meditative longings to make a poetry that’s unique in the contemporary American scene.” —Michael Chitwood, The News & Observer (Raleigh)

“Charles Wright has been on the lookout for transcendence in his back yard for years. His poems often examine the way an ordinary bit of perception or speech turns suddenly musical. Wright’s back yard is his own little piece of the pastoral, world in which ease and wisdom coexist and create each other, where Eastern mysticism merges with Southern laziness…In Littlefoot, a book-length poem, Wright continues in this way, this time with a greater attention paid to the particulars of his own life and death.” —Katie Peterson, The Chicago Tribue

“[Wright’s] long open verse lines mix genres and sources with seeming effortlessness, but he never stops thinking . . . In Wright’s poems, the mysteries of consciousness interface with the mysteries of natural beauty, and the music of the whole often leaves a lump in the throat.” —Tom D’Evelyn, Providence Journal

“For the past thirty-five years Charles Wright has been one of the most intriguing figures in our literary landscape…[There are] truly epic and monumental dimensions...[to his] work.” —Kevin Bowen, Harvard Review

From the Publisher
"If Nature is a haunted house, as Emily Dickinson told us, and Art a house that tries to be haunted, then Wright has created in Littlefoot one of the most satisfyingly possessed landscapes of his career . . . Inside his 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

“Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs don’t often get mentioned in the works of Pultizer Prize-winning writers, but that’s precisely what puts Charles Wright in his unique position among contemporary poets. Somewhere in his work, layered with echoes of the masters, there is always room to connect his highly polished poems to the world where most of us lead mundane lives . . . More often than not, [Littlefoot] is a celebration, which is something else that sets Wright apart . . . [Wright] speaks with a sadness that makes the uplifting moments quite credible. Mortality is as inescapable in Wright’s depiction of life as it is in life itself.” —Dionisio Martinez, Miami Herald

“By using a combination of short poetic sections and long and stepped-down lines, Wright blends dense, musical imagery with meditative longings to make a poetry that’s unique in the contemporary American scene.” —Michael Chitwood, The News & Observer (Raleigh)

“Charles Wright has been on the lookout for transcendence in his back yard for years. His poems often examine the way an ordinary bit of perception or speech turns suddenly musical. Wright’s back yard is his own little piece of the pastoral, world in which ease and wisdom coexist and create each other, where Eastern mysticism merges with Southern laziness…In Littlefoot, a book-length poem, Wright continues in this way, this time with a greater attention paid to the particulars of his own life and death.” —Katie Peterson, The Chicago Tribue

“[Wright’s] long open verse lines mix genres and sources with seeming effortlessness, but he never stops thinking . . . In Wright’s poems, the mysteries of consciousness interface with the mysteries of natural beauty, and the music of the whole often leaves a lump in the throat.” —Tom D’Evelyn, Providence Journal

“For the past thirty-five years Charles Wright has been one of the most intriguing figures in our literary landscape…[There are] truly epic and monumental dimensions...[to his] work.” —Kevin Bowen, Harvard Review

The Barnes & Noble Review
Charles Wright has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award. He has nothing to prove, and his poetry reveals his independence and eccentric elegance. Littlefoot, Wright's 18th book, takes on memory and loss; mortality; writing; landscape; inner and outer weather. The book-length poem has a long, slow, floating quality. It discourses on time's ravages and gifts.
It may not be written in any book, but it is written --
You can't go back.
Littlefoot is inhabited by birds, mountains, clouds, and trees more than people. It instructs us like the Tao Te Ching laced with American grief. "But nature is not sincere, nor is it insincere." We must not "be negligent, / So that our hearts end up like diamonds, and not roots." Gorgeous imagery occupies every page. "Deer huddle...then burst like flames in the air." Wright depicts "the Chinese vocabulary of the grasses," "the dark bandages of dusk." He wields color like a master painter -- "poppies along the near hill glisten like small fires, / Pink and orange and damp red." Yet the poet worries that he hasn't done enough." "All I have left undone, I hope someone will make good / in this life or the next." Littlefoot begins and ends in autumn, transforming melancholy to praise-song, "Praise for the left-over and over-looked, / praise for the left hand / And the horse with one lame leg." It is a hymn composed of "pennywhistle music" and silence "here under the latches of Paradise." --Liz Rosenberg
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374531218
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 6/10/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 1,155,649
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize, teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

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