Writers in the Library: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright

Join us Monday, March 7 for an evening of poetry with Charles Wright, to be held at the University Club at 7 p.m.

Wright, a Pulitzer prize-winning poet and current professor of English at the University of Virginia, was born in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, and grew up in Kingsport. After earning a degree in history at Davidson College, Wright entered the military and began writing poetry while serving in Italy with the US Army.

This special Writers in the Library event is co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee Library Friends, and is free and open to the public. This event will be held at the University Club at the corner of Kingston Pike and Neyland Drive at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 7.

“I think you could call him the Robert Frost or T.S. Eliot of the South,” said RB Morris, who is the current Writer-in-Residence at the Libraries. “His poetry retains the good Southern heart and is in touch with the nature and culture of the South.”

After finishing his military service, Wright earned an MFA at the University of Iowa. He taught at the University of California at Irvine before moving to UVA in 1983. Wright has published over twenty books of poetry and poetic translations, and much of his poetry has earned the highest accolades. Country Music: Selected Early Poems won the National Book Award in 1983; Black Zodiac won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Pulitzer Prize, among others. Wright has also been a Fulbright scholar, and has won Guggenheim and Ingram Merrill fellowships.

“I am so pleased to be able to help bring Charles Wright to UT and have him read,” said Morris. “What surprised me most was that he hadn’t been to Knoxville before and wanted to come. It is truly our good fortune.”

Dew-dangled, fresh-cut lawn grass will always smell like a golf course
Fairway to me, Saturday morning, Chuck Ross and I
Already fudging our scores down,

happy as mockingbirds in deep weeds,


The South Fork of the Holston River
Slick as a nickel before its confluence behind our backs
At Rotherwood with the North Fork’s distant, blurred thunder,
Our rounds in the seventies always including mulligans,
Nudged lies, “found” lost balls, some extraordinary shots

And that never-again-to-be-repeated

teen-age false sense of attainment.

-excerpted from “Apologia Pro Vita Sua”, a poem by Charles Wright, from his Pulitzer Prize-winning book Black Zodiac

The Writers in the Library series is sponsored by the University of Tennessee Libraries and the Creative Writing Program of the UT English Department. For further information, please contact Jo Anne Deeken, Head of Technical Services, UT Libraries, at 974-6905 or deeken@nullaztec.lib.utk.edu, or R.B. Morris, Writer in Residence, UT Libraries, at 974-3004 or rbmorris@nullutk.edu.

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