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Old 12-12-2017, 08:45 PM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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Location: Beaumont, TX
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Default James Wright Biography

James Wright: A Life in Poetry
Jonathan Blunk
FSG, 2017

I've just finished this. It is very thorough as Wright left behind many letters and journals. Blunk also interviewed many of Wright's friends before they died.

Wright was incredibly learned and had a vast memory for poems, Dickens, sports trivia, etc. He was also a great teacher of literature, though he became somewhat unreliable because of his drinking.

He was the kind of poet whose search for "authenticity" perhaps blinded him to the damage he was doing to others. I personally think that his poetry went astray after his first two books, though I do like individual later poems. He had such a fine "natural" ear that he ended up writing against his own grain for the last 20 years of his life. Still, Blunk shows why it happened and makes the choice sound necessary, given how Wright couldn't detach the poetry from his daily life.

He died at 53. Tomorrow is his birthday.
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