A Wild Perfection by James Wright
The Selected Letters of James Wright

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The life and work of a major American poet described in his own words.

"There is something about the very form and occasion of a letter--the possibility it offers, the chance to be as open and tentative and uncertain as one likes and also the chance to formulate certain ideas, very precisely--if one is lucky in one's thoughts," wrote James Wright, one of the great lyric poets of the last century, in a letter to a friend. The Great Conversation is a compelling collection that captures the exhilarating and moving correspondence between Wright and his many friends. In letters to fellow poets Donald Hall, Theodore Roethke, Galway Kinnell, James Dickey, Mary Oliver, and Robert Bly, Wright explored subjects from his creative process to his struggles with depression and illness.

A bright thread of wit, gallantry, and passion for describing his travels and his beloved natural world runs through these letters, which begin in 1946 in Martin's Ferry, Ohio, the hometown he would memorialize in verse, and end in New York City, where he lived for the last fourteen years of his life. Selected Letters is no less than an epistolary chronicle of a significant part of the midcentury American poetry renaissance, as well as the clearest biographical picture now available of a major American poet.


About James Wright

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The son of a World War II veteran, James Wright joined the marines at age seventeen and served for three years, primarily with the First Marine Brigade in Hawaii and Japan. He earned a PhD at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, became a history professor at Dartmouth College in 1969, and served as president of Dartmouth from 1998 to 2009. Since 2005 he has visited military hospitals over two dozen times and has worked to establish educational counseling programs for wounded veterans, efforts featured in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, ABC World News, and VFW Magazine, and recognized by educational, veteran, and service organizations. He and his wife, Susan, live in New Hampshire.
Published August 17, 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 672 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Wright (1927–1980) is well served by his wife and Maley, an English professor specializing in his verse, who have gathered nearly 35 years' worth of corr

May 09 2005 | Read Full Review of A Wild Perfection: The Select...

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