Oblivion Banjo (Hardcover)

The Poetry of Charles Wright

By Charles Wright

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374251017, 784pp.

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (11/3/2020)

List Price: 50.00*
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Description

The selected works of one of our finest American poets

The thread that dangles us
between a dark and a darker dark,
Is luminous, sure, but smooth sided.
Don’t touch it here, and don’t touch it there.
Don’t touch it, in fact, anywhere—
Let it dangle and hold us hard, let it flash and swing.
—from “Scar Tissue”

Over the course of his work—more than twenty books in total—Charles Wright has built “one of the truly distinctive bodies of poetry created in the second half of the twentieth century” (David Young, Contemporary Poets). Oblivion Banjo, a capacious new selection spanning his decades-long career, showcases the central themes of Wright’s poetry: “language, landscape, and the idea of God.” No matter the precise subject of each poem, on display here is a vast and rich interior life, a mind wrestling with the tenuous relationship between the ways we describe the world and its reality.

The recipient of almost every honor in poetry—the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the Bollingen Prize, to name a few—and a former poet laureate of the United States, Wright is an essential voice in American letters. Oblivion Banjo is the perfect distillation of his inimitable career—for devout fans and newcomers alike.



About the Author

Charles Wright is the United States Poet Laureate. His poetry collections include Country Music, Black Zodiac, Chickamauga, Bye-and-Bye: Selected Later Poems, Sestets, and Caribou. He is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the National Book Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the 2013 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. Born in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee in 1935, he currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Praise For Oblivion Banjo: The Poetry of Charles Wright

"Wright’s poetry is driven by a trembling wonder before existence, and by a profound sense of mortality . . . Reading the abundance collected in Oblivion Banjo — 17 volumes over four decades or so, the work of a lifetime — one is struck by the care and the craftsmanship, but even more by the intense gravity of the spiritual striving." —Troy Jollimore, The New York Times Book Review

"[An] exquisite assembly of selected poems from Wright's prodigious output . . . One may lose track of self and time within Wright's radiant poems, trusting that this great poet . . . might help us hear our own language, decipher our own feelings, as if for the first time." —Raúl Niño, Booklist (Starred review)

"At moments, Wright’s work feels like an enormous, timeless front porch . . . His gregarious asceticism—asceticism over drinks, as it were—bears traces of Dante, St. Ignatius, Augustine, and the Buddha. These solemn figures make rather jaunty appearances in the work, but none of them seem to me to be the source of its charisma . . . Wright—with his sometimes cantankerous affection, his sympathy for the reader who has, as he has, seen and heard this all before—is profoundly companionable." —Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker

“For decades Charles Wright has been America’s backwood Buddhist, its metaphysical gardener, its lore collector, a most cosmopolitan local . . . He simply listens, taking in what the land says without speaking. As a poet he creates a similar effect, whether working in a sestet or a sonnet, or in the long, wending lines of his 1995 volume, Chickamauga, Wright sounds the same: Like a poet looking inward and outward at the same time.” John Freeman, Literary Hub