Skip to main content
Charles Wright portrait

Born in 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, educated at Davidson College, the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop, and the University of Rome, Charles Wright is currently a professor in the Writing Program at the University of Virginia. Wright's interest in poetry was quickened by a tour of duty in the U.S. Army Intelligence Service in Italy in 1957. He became an admirer of Ezra Pound and Italian poets like Eugenio Montale whose work he translated in 1979, and Cesare Pavese, whose rich sonority his own poetic line carries over into English. He also has a stronger interest than many of his contemporaries in working through the symbols and concepts of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition. Wright composes as if he were in the line of imagist poets, specializing in fragments that gain their authority from their startling juxtapositions. But his language has a musical dimension matched by few contemporaries. So extravagantly sumptuous are his blendings of sight and sound—and sometimes so little anchored to incident—that it is with reluctance that one leaves the world of the poem to a reality that may seem diminished by comparison.