Charles Wright’s poetry is the last refuge of nineteenth-century oratory—his overwrought syntax is its own religion. In early books he tried on various styles like a man changing hats. He never made any of the hats his own, and the hats never made him their own, either—they were just hats. For the past decade, as middle age has become mortal, his poems have settled into loose, baggy journals heavily influenced by Ezra Pound. The sea-chop of rhythm, the epigrammatic line, the snatch of foreign language—all are the lost property of a great flawed poet.

Through language, strict attention—
Verona mi fe’, disfecemi Verona, the song goes.
I’ve hummed it, I’ve bridged the break

To no avail.


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