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ShallCross [Reading] ➸ ShallCross By C.D. Wright – Natus-physiotherapy.co.uk Through than a dozen collections, CD Wright pushed the bounds of imagination as she explored desire, loss and physical sensation Her posthumously published book, ShallCross features seven poem sequenc Through than a dozen collections, CD Wright pushed the bounds of imagination as she explored desire, loss and physical sensation Her posthumously published book, ShallCross features seven poem sequences that show her tremendous range in style and approach As she considers, among other topics, some dark intuitions about human nature, she also nudges readers to question who is telling the story and where one s thought can lead The Washington Post Wright gets better with each book, expanding the reach of her art it seems it could take in anything Publishers Weekly Wright belongs to a school of exactly one New York Times Book Review CD Wright is entirely her own poet, a true original The Gettysburg ReviewIn a turbulent world, CD Wright evokes a rebellious and dissonant ethos with characteristic genre bending and expanding long form poems Accessing journalistic writing alongside filmic narratives, Wright ranges across seven poetic sequences, including a collaborative suite responding to photographic documentation of murder sites in New Orleans ShallCross shows plain as day that CD Wright is our most thrilling and innovative poetFrom Obscurity and Elegance Whether or not the park was safeshe was going in A study concluded, for a parkto be successful there had to be womenThe man next to the monument must have brokenaway from her Perhaps yearsbefore That the bond had been carnal is obviousHe said he was just out clearing his head CD Wright taught at Brown University for decades and published over a dozen works of poetry and prose, including One With Others, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a National Book Award One Big Self An Investigationand Rising Falling Hovering Among her many honors are the Griffin International Poetry Prize and a MacArthur Fellowship.


10 thoughts on “ShallCross

  1. Jenna Jenna says:

    It took me a long journey to arrive at this book After C.D Wright s death in January 2016, there was an outpouring of grief for her among people I knew on social media who had known her personally these mourners volunteered anecdotes about her above and beyond generosity, kindness, inclusiveness, and humanity, her willingness to set aside careerist considerations to speak out against injustices Reading such stories, I thought, I wish I knew someone like that More I want to be someone like It took me a long journey to arrive at this book After C.D Wright s death in January 2016, there was an outpouring of grief for her among people I knew on social media who had known her personally these mourners volunteered anecdotes about her above and beyond generosity, kindness, inclusiveness, and humanity, her willingness to set aside careerist considerations to speak out against injustices Reading such stories, I thought, I wish I knew someone like that More I want to be someone like that Then the February 2016 issue of Poetry printed Wright s From The Obscure Lives of Poets , a piece almost superhuman in its breadth of imagination, its wide ranging visionary empathy and intellect, which reminded me of some of the great poets of Latin America but whose likeness I could scarcely recall having seen recently in U.S poetry.Then, at a Barnes and Noble in suburban Minnesota, I stumbled on ShallCross This is a store where I spent some of the happiest, most peaceful hours of my childhood, and although the book industry has drastically changed of late, this particular store still felt like a welcoming refuge as I approached the poetry section, an elderly female employee warmly greeted me, irrelevantly but with the best of intentions informed me that she could help me add my name to the waiting list for the then soon to be released latest Harry Potter book this, especially, made me feel like it was the 90s again , then respectfully withdrew and left me to the privacy of my own meanderings ShallCross Copper Canyon Press, 2016 , the final poetry collection Wright assembled before her sudden death and the collection to which From The Obscure Lives of Poets belongs , is an unusually designed hardcover there is no book jacket, and there are two pages that fold out to accommodate poems whose very long lines are printed vertically rather than horizontally The front matter touts Wright as the most thrilling and innovative poet of the past four decades, a beloved poet whose work mingled journalistic activism, sociopolitical outrage, and erotic lyricism Reader, how could anyone human not be seduced The book consists of one long poem, three quasi long poems, and three groupings of short poems, a perfect assortment for a reader of short attention span like myself These sections vary dramatically in style and typography some poems use punctuation whereas others use none some are composed of short lines while others use only long lines some poems are aligned flush left, others flush right some are double spaced, others single spaced To me, these variations testify that the poet was 100% mentally present during the making of her poems, attentive to every last detail of composition and visual presentation.I was immediately sucked in by 40 Watts, a clustering of very brief, almost haiku like poems about everyday life in the Ozarks whose sensibility lies somewhere between Basho s and Lorine Niedecker s This is one of the 40 Watts poems in its entirety I took a snapshot of it on my phone so that I could return to it at any time, any place Poem from Pearl s HouseI can smell the lilacsoutside her windowI can smell the springwhere she kept thingscold I smell the shedhis worn out leatherthe snake that must vebeen sleeping whenthe rags hit the gasolinePoems like this, which use line breaks cannily and don t use punctuation at all, require reading in an iterative way as you re reading, you have to pause now and then, reread previously read lines, and ask yourself questions like, Does the descriptor outside the window apply to the lilacs or the spring or both What word or words does the adjective cold modify This forces you to be as present during the reading process as the writer was during the writing process.Because it requires you to be so present in the moment, reading this book feels like engaging in a spiritual practice like meditation or yoga, or, perhaps, like reading the Egyptian Book of the Dead at least half the poems, by forcing the reader to dwell on the manifold little vulnerable things that populate our lives the lilacs, the leather boots, the snakes that might incinerate at virtually any moment , feel like they were written for the express purpose of preparing us both the writer and the reader to confront our eventual deaths They teach us attentiveness, patience, equipoise There s a school of thought that says a writer s or artist s personality doesn t matter, that Hitler s paintings were fine paintings even though he was Hitler Books like this remind me of why I am inclined to disagree with that dogma with a few exceptions that are rare as lightning strikes, it is only possible to learn attentiveness, patience, kindness, etc., from someone who possesses those traits, just as it is generally only possible to learn wisdom from a teacher if that teacher is wise.The 40 Watts poems were my favorite in this book, but I must also give a shout out to Breathtaken, a collage style poem created by piecing together phrases gleaned from the NOLA.com Crime Blog and from interviews with the deceased s survivors homeless, stabbed in torsohomeless, stabbed in backon Loyolaon Danzinger Bridge, a boy, 17 NOPD on Danzinger Bridge, a man, mentally challenged in the back NOPD again behind the wheel of his new carby a peer, 14on Babylon Street, 17, by peersin Gert TownThis is the kind of very ambitious poem that could easily devolve into moralistic grandstanding but, miraculously, doesn t Its pounding repetitiveness could easily grow tiresome, but Wright has a fine sense of timing that doesn t allow this, and she mixes just enough variation into this delicate balance of theme and variation that even I who generally am allergic to long poems found myself compelled to read this quite long poem in a single sitting, on the edge of my seat


  2. M. Gaffney M. Gaffney says:

    Bittersweet read I ve been a fan of C.D Wright for some years now and to read her last book is both profound and humbling I also enjoyed the afterword which gives us a glimpse into Wright s thoughts on poetry and this collection It s a poem if I say it is sums her up for me Thank you, poet.


  3. L. A. L. A. says:

    This is one of the best books of poetry I ve ever read Some sections weren t as good as others, but the book overall was beyond outstanding.


  4. Laurel L. Perez Laurel L. Perez says:

    There is a lot to love about this collection, each section is a different kind of experience I love the play with form included, and the right images packed in little poems Some of the longer poems that used a lot of white space were sometimes difficult to read, and I felt like they could be read in different ways, but was not sure that was the purpose Overall, a collection that asks a lot of the creative process, accessible, but downright questioning.


  5. Pickle Farmer Pickle Farmer says:

    I liked the sequence about murders in New Orleans a lot, reminded me of Bola o.


  6. Ariel Ariel says:

    This demands a second reading, still waiting for the time to do that


  7. Leonard Leonard says:

    I liked the first 50 or so pages of this book much better than the last app 100 pages The first part includes short poems that created interesting and colorful images in my mind The latter and larger part was muchwordy without the impact of the first part.


  8. Brian Henderson Brian Henderson says:

    Wright s last book, in which she continues her fearless lyricism, formal play and advocacy I ll very much miss not reading further work.


  9. Allison Allison says:

    This is an evocative and beautifully written collection by C.D Wright Combining short form withprose oriented longer works, ShallCross incorporates many striking themes and images that stay with you long after you finish reading the poems I found myself crying at several of these, particularly those in the Breathtaken cycle, written in response to the documentation of murders in New Orleans These poems achieve transportation Reading them reminded me that poetry has a lot of power in This is an evocative and beautifully written collection by C.D Wright Combining short form withprose oriented longer works, ShallCross incorporates many striking themes and images that stay with you long after you finish reading the poems I found myself crying at several of these, particularly those in the Breathtaken cycle, written in response to the documentation of murders in New Orleans These poems achieve transportation Reading them reminded me that poetry has a lot of power in a concise package This was my first exposure to C.D Wright, who died unexpectedly in 2016, but it will definitely not be my last


  10. Matt Matt says:

    I struggle some with long poems I mimmediately affected by the compression of language some poets pursue which means that while I ve marveled at long poems like Deepstep Come Shining, I m not always drawn to reading CD Wright But this book, the first fifty pages or so are all short poems the book is calling them a sequence, but that feels a bit like a pretense here , and they are lovely and luminous and strange There are longer,attenuated sequences in this book as well, and to I struggle some with long poems I mimmediately affected by the compression of language some poets pursue which means that while I ve marveled at long poems like Deepstep Come Shining, I m not always drawn to reading CD Wright But this book, the first fifty pages or so are all short poems the book is calling them a sequence, but that feels a bit like a pretense here , and they are lovely and luminous and strange There are longer,attenuated sequences in this book as well, and to me, maybe they show a little flagging of energy on Wright s part, though they are still pretty great.A very strong final collection, with the best materials, to me, coming in the first third of the book


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