C.D. Wright's work is enormously varied: she is an experimental writer, a Southern writer, and a socially committed writer, yet she continuously reinvents herself with each new volume. Much of her poetry is rooted in the landscape and people of her childhood in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.
Long admired for the honed ferocity of her vision, she writes with a distinctive Southern accent and a cinematic eye, cut with a secular wit that only slightly tempers her exigency. The resulting poems are hypnotic documentaries that offer what she calls "a once-and-for-all thing, opaque and revelatory, ceaselessly burning".
Like Something Flying Backwards is the first UK edition of her work, and presents a wide range of her lyrics, narratives, prose poems and odes. Based on Steal Away: Selected and New Poems (2003), a finalist for the Griffin Poetry Prize, its selection has been expanded to include more later work as well as new poems not yet published in book form in the US, and the complete text of her book-length poem, Deepstep Come Shining.
"Wright has found a way to wed fragments of an iconic America to a luminously strange idiom, eerie as a tin whistle, which she uses to evoke the haunted quality of our carnal existence."
The New Yorker
"One of the most complex, fascinating and ultimately rewarding American poets writing todayÖ For her, it seems a natural step from Southern down-home dialect (at least as her writer's ear perceived it) to the experiments with nonsyntactical language that put her in the forefront of experimental poetry. Not only do her poems explore uncharted ground in both subject and form, each new volume seems to take new risks."
"Bold, striking and sensual... as soothing as poetry filled to the brim with the bloody mess of living can hope to be. Hers is a harsh, unforgiving but richly beautiful world. It is not the America of sophisticated coastal cities or plush university campuses, but of small towns and villages in the middle of nowhere, in which death and nourishment stand together as they must... Wright is an unmistakeably Southern poet, but hers is not the South of wisteria-clad mansions we know from Hollywood confections; rather, it is the blue-collar South of blues and bluegrass... Her poems carry the voice of her native Arkansas, but her poetry is far too experimental and modernist, and too imbued with a range of international influences, to be pigeonholed as regional."
Vesna Goldsworthy, The Guardian