Rising, Falling, Hovering

C. D. Wright, Author . Copper Canyon $22 (97p) ISBN 978-1-55659-273-7

In her first collection of new lyric poems since 2003, Wright braids some of her most personal and intimate poetry to date with an extended meditation on the consequences of America's contemporary stance toward other countries. Short, elliptical lyrics, featuring Wright's trademark repetition of lines and sharp wit, which interrogate their own speaker and a companion (“She is not really hearing what he's really saying”) flank the two-part title piece, a long poem that is a travelogue of a trip to Mexico at the beginning of the current war in Iraq. Everywhere the shell-shocked speaker goes, she finds people “mesmerized// by the new media-borne war,” while she feels “Ashamed of her solace in being here” because, now more than ever, “to be ashamed is to be American.” As the lines blur between tourism and empire, and as images and impressions accrue (“Whole new breed of dog born in every warren”), the poem's speaker also reflects on the safety and precariousness of her own family. This book displays a new level of social and personal consciousness for Wright (One Big Self ), who characterizes the powerful ambivalence that now accompanies life in America, where injustice may be the price of freedom, and where “poetry/ doesn't/ protect/ you/ anymore.” (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
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