A Short History of the Shadow
By Charles Wright
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374263027, 96pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2002
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Luminous new poems from the author of "The Appalachian Book of the Dead"
Landscape, as Wang Wei says, softens the sharp edges of isolation.
Don't just do something, sit there.
And so I have, so I have,
the seasons curling around me like smoke,
Gone to the end of the earth and back without a sound.
-"Body and Soul II"
This is Charles Wright's first collection of verse since the completion of his Appalachian Book of the Dead, the trilogy of trilogies hailed as one "among the great long poems of the century" (James Longenbach, Boston Review). Wright speaks in these poems with characteristic charm, restlessness, and wit, writing again and again, "I sit where I always sit," only to reveal himself in a new setting every time. In A Short History of the Shadow Wright's return to the landscapes of his early work finds his art resilient in a world haunted by death and the dead.
Charles Wright has won, among other honors, the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, and the Academy of American Poets' 1996 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.