"Wright belongs to a school of exactly one.""The New York Times Book Review"
"Wright has found a way to wed fragments of an iconic America to a luminously strange idiom, eerie as a tin whistle.""The New Yorker"
Investigative journalism is the poet's realm when C.D. Wright returns to her native Arkansas and examines an explosive incident from the Civil Rights movement. Wright interweaves oral histories, hymns, lists, newspaper accounts, and personal memoriesespecially those of her incandescent mentor, Mrs. Vititowwith the voices of witnesses, neighbors, police, activists, and black students who were rounded up and detained in an empty public swimming pool. This history leaps howling off the page.
"I can walk down the highway unarmed
Scott Bond, born a slave, became
a millionaire. Wouldn't you like to run wild.
Run free. The Very Reverend Al Green
hailed from here. Sonny Liston a few miles west,
Sand Slough. Head hardened
on hickory sticks.
The cool water is for white/ the sun-heated for black
This chair is not for you N-word]/ it is for the white buttock
This textbook/ is nearly new/ is not for you N-word]
This plot of ground does not hold black bones
Today the sermon once again "Segregation After Death""
C.D. Wright has published a dozen books of poetry and prose, including the recent volumes "One Big Self: An Investigation" and "Rising, Falling, Hovering," which received the Griffin Poetry Award. A MacArthur Fellow, Wright teaches at Brown University and lives outside Providence, Rhode Island.