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By Charles Wright

Co-winner of the 1983 nationwide booklet Award for Poetry, kingdom song is constructed from eighty-eight poems chosen from Charles Wright's first 4 books released among 1970 and 1977. From his first booklet, The Grave of the suitable Hand, to the extreme China hint, this feature of early works represents "Charles Wright's grand passions: his wish to reclaim and redeem a private earlier, to make a reckoning together with his current, and to conjure the phrases in which we'd face the future," writes David St. John within the ahead. those poems, strong and relocating of their personal correct, lend richness and perception to Wright's lately amassed later works. "In state tune we see an identical explosive imagery, a similar dismantled and concentric (or parallel) narratives, an analogous resolutely religious issues that experience turn into so everyday to us in Wright's newer poetry," writes St. John.

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Wright also began revealing in these new poems from Hard Freight and Bloodlines his self-conscious choice to use both overt and covert autobiographical subject matter. " For Wright this meant a reclamation of his past, an Page xv attempt at the recuperation of his childhood, was necessary before he could begin to look toward the yearnings and desirings of the "beyond" we find so delicately considered in the volume China Trace, the final panel of Wright's triptych. In Hard Freight (and to some extent in the poems of Bloodlines) familial memories and episodes of Wright's youth in Tennessee and North Carolina mix quite easily"naturally" we might saywith the rich landscapes of their settings.

Yet the Page xviii impulse to touch mystery has always been present in Wright's work. In the illuminating instants of China Trace we are in the presenceas in all of the finest religious worksof the mystery of the one, the individual, confronted by the expanse of the greater and more fluent other. Here is the poem "Stone Canyon Nocturne": Ancient of Days, old friend, no one believes you'll come back. No one believes in his own life anymore. The moon, like a dead heart, cold and unstartable, hangs by a thread At the earth's edge, Unfaithful at last, splotching the ferns and the pink shrubs.

Page 32 Notes for Oscar Wilde at San Miniato 1.  . 2.  .  . 3.  . After Dino Campana Page 33 Oscar Wilde at San Miniato Unnatural city, monastic transparency, Below me (in flames, the tide-lines of light Lapping the night's brim) You sift your impossible loves, Your rich, suicidal dreams. Beside the steps where I climb, four youths, Mocking and drunk with scorn, Flip their invisible coins. The river flashes and winks. Insatiable disillusion, Dark ship, I watch the candescent fevers rise Which burn you, rise and reflare.

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