Oblivion Banjo: The Poetry of Charles Wright

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It is no small thing to collect work from a writer as prolific and profound as Charles Wright, and Oblivion Banjo: The Poetry of Charles Wright is no small book. The weight of this book is not only in its size but in its scope. The work within the book spans forty-one years, and the heart of the poet is present on every page.

Work from seventeen books appears in this newest collection, and the progression of the poet’s gift as well as his interests track from beginning to end. The poems included from 1973’s Hard Freight focus on places and people, attention to alliteration and adjectives moving the dark and at times heartbreaking lines into new territories. These same hallmarks appear in the latest work, 2014’s Caribou. In fact, the poem “Chinoiserie” from ’73 now gets two more parts while the earlier “Homage to Ezra Pound” now finds a complement in an “Homage to Samuel Beckett”. All of this is to simply note that Wright has been Wright since he began, and this new collection illustrates that steadfastness better than any reading of the individual collections could.

Oblivion Banjo is a must-read for Wright fans or for anyone who wants to, as the poem “Clear Night” states so beautifully, “be strung up in a strong light and singled out”.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 784 pages
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date 2020-Dec-01
ISBN 9781250754943
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue April 2021
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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