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How Poets See the WorldThe Art of Description in Contemporary Poetry$
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Willard Spiegelman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332926.001.0001

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Charles Wright and “The Metaphysics of the Quotidian”

Charles Wright and “The Metaphysics of the Quotidian”

(p.82) Four Charles Wright and “The Metaphysics of the Quotidian”
How Poets See the World

Willard Spiegelman

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Charles Wright's works and the use of landscape as his subject. Wright's poetry oddly combines particularity of observation, discreteness of detail and diction, with the haze or disjunctions caused by lineation, transitions, and other gestures that mimic the mind's transactions with external reality. This chapter defines him much more through his use of context, place, situation, anecdote, and natural description than through any even momentarily overt confessions. Framing himself within a recollected or perceived landscape, he enacts a pilgrimage toward self-portraiture by painting himself into the landscape. In The Southern Cross, five poems entitled “Self-Portrait,” along with “Portrait of the Artist with Hart Crane” and “Portrait of the Artist with Li Po,” impart a vision of Wright, the man and the poet, just at the moment before he transforms his style from the stanzaic poems of the earlier volumes to the jagged, long-lined meditations of the journals.

Keywords:   Charles Wright, landscape, observation, self-portraiture, The Southern Cross, Self-Portrait, Hart Crane, Li Po

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