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C. D. Wright portrait

Born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, C(arolyn) D. Wright was the daughter of a judge and a court reporter. She received her first degree from Memphis State University and completed her education at the University of Arkansas. She remained in touch with her roots as the Poet Laureate of Arkansas's Boone County and organized a traveling exhibit about the state in the mid-1990s. Some of her short, unsparing lyrics retell stories of her experience in the South, though she also has wider investments in populist politics and has written a number of linguistically experimental prose poems. Indeed, among linguistically experimental poets, at times it seems she alone actually builds accessible political commitment into her poetry. "Over Everything," reprinted here as part of Just Whistle, is adapted from a passage near the end of John Hersey's Hiroshima (1946), pp. 91-92. Her book-length poem sequence, One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, a collaboration with photographer Deborah Luste, manages to mix reportorial revelations about the Louisiana prison system with the moral and epistemological uncertainties inherent in linguisticality. Wright  published several critical essays and essays on poetics as well as numerous volumes of poetry. Along with poet Forrest Gander, she ran Lost Roads Publishers. She taught at Brown University.