Deepstep Come Shining

C. D. Wright, Author, CD Wright, Author
C. D. Wright, Author, CD Wright, Author Copper Canyon Press $14 (111p) ISBN 978-1-55659-092-4
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 09/01/1998
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.)
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