Charles Wright is an old, old hand now, still hammering out, as he has for decades, meditations on life, liberty, and the pursuit of angels.1 He doesn’t deal in country wisdom—only wisdom countrified, the way every suburb south of Canada and north of Mexico has a bar with a roaring trade in cowboy hats and cowboy boots. At worst, Wright’s poems offer wisdom shtick that at the upper end competes with W. S. Merwin’s free-floating ramblings and at the lower Mary Oliver’s doggy pastoral:

No darkness steps out of the woods, no angel appears. I listen, no word, I look, no thing. Eternity must be hiding back there, it’s done so before.


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