C.D. Wright

     It's not easy to combine a investigative journalism into a lucid poem, but poet C.D. Wright manages to do so with effortless poignancy when she read a few pages from her newest work, “One With Others” at UCA on Tuesday. This narrative poem recounts the late 60s, when a Tennessean woman known as V led a small group of African-Americans through a little town in Arkansas during the controversial segregation disputes. V had a profound influence on Wright because of her willingness to sacrifice her career, family, and even withstand exclusion from her community for the sake of the African-American community.
     Wright was born in Mountain Home, Arkansas and the descriptive country scenery she describes illustrates her knowledge of the slow pace of the south, and the humid weather accompanied with it. Wright also intertwines newspaper headlines, politics, and her own personal memoirs. Before going to Wright’s reading, I had not heard of such combinations for poetry, but I enjoyed Wright’s illuminating and sometimes satirical tone that was prevalent throughout the poem.
     When Wright was finished reading a few sections for the poem, there was an inquiry part that I found interesting as well. Wright spoke of a few specific memories from her past that influenced the book, and I could tell that these memories burdened her as she came close to tears on more than one occasion. Wright also talked about her investigation part of the poem while emphasizing that she was not a reporter, but wanted to add some validity to the story and the town where V was from.  

     Leaving the reading and inquiry that night, I felt that Wright is an unique combination of post-modern experimental prose with a touch of southern gothic and a reminiscent voice of the past for the woman who truly impacted her heart and soul.

erica lewis

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