The Corner

Running on Aztec Time

You think Elizabeth Alexander is as bad as it gets? Meet C.D. Wright. A friend at a fine Southern university sent me this from their bulletin board.

On Monday, February 23 at 7:00 pm in Divinity North 302, C.D. Wright will give a poetry reading as the last in this year’s Samford Visiting Writers Series. Wright is the author of twelve collections of poetry and prose including, most recently, Rising, Falling, Hovering. A native of Mountain Home, Arkansas, Wright received a B.A. from Memphis State College and an M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas. In 2005 she was the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Fellowship and she is currently anthologized in the most recent Norton Anthology of American Literature, one of the benchmarks of canonization in literary studies. Wright is currently a professor of English at Brown University.

Please try to attend, encourage your students to attend, and enjoy the following samples of her work:

From Rising, Falling, Hovering

    Re: Happiness, in pursuit thereof

        It is 2005, just before landfall.

Here I am, in a labyrinth, and I am a mess.

I am located at the corner of Waterway

and Bluff. I need your help. You will find me

to the left of the graveyard, where the trees

grow especially talkative at night,

where fog and alcohol rub off the edge.

We burn to make another sing;

to stay the lake that it not boil, earth

not rock. We are running on Aztec time,

fifth and final cycle. Eyes switch on/off.

We would be mercurochrome to one another

bee balm or chamomile. We should be concrete,

glass, and spandex. We should be digital or,

at least, early. Be ivory-billed. Invisible

except to the most prepared observer.

We will be stardust. Ancient tailings

of nothing. Elapsed breath. No,

we must first be ice. Be nails. Be teeth.

                    Be lightning.

A sample of Ms. Wright’s prose follows, but I won’t inflict it on you.

Note that the lady is, in the opinion of the MacArthur Foundation, a genius.

We are doomed, doomed.

John Derbyshire — Mr. Derbyshire is a former contributing editor of National Review.

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