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James Arlington Wright

(13 December 1927 – 25 March 1980 / Ohio)

James Arlington Wright
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James Arlington Wright was an American poet.

Wright first emerged on the literary scene in 1956 with The Green Wall, a collection of formalist verse that was awarded the prestigious Yale Younger Poets Prize. But by the early 1960s, Wright, increasingly influenced by the Spanish language surrealists, had dropped fixed meters. His transformation achieved its maximum expression with the publication of the seminal The Branch Will Not Break (1963), which positioned Wright as curious counterpoint to the Beats and New York schools, which predominated on the American coasts.

This transformation had not come by accident, as Wright had been working for years with his friend ... more »

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  • Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
    And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
    That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
    Suddenly I realize
    That if I ste...
    James Wright (1927-1980), U.S. poet. A Blessing (l. 19-24). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann and Robert O'Clair, eds. (...
  • ''All the proud fathers are ashamed to go home.
    Their women cluck like starved pullets,
    Dying for love.''
    James Wright (1927-1980), U.S. poet. Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio (l. 6-8). . . Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, The. Richard Ellmann an...
  • ''And nobody would commit suicide, only
    To find beyond death
    Bridgeport, Ohio.''
    James Wright (1927-1980), U.S. poet. In Response to a Rumor That the Oldest Whorehouse in Wheeling, West Virginia, Has Been Condemned (l. 22-24). . . ...
  • ''I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
    A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
    I have wasted my life.''
    James Wright (1927-1980), U.S. poet. Lying on a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota (l. 11-13). . . New Oxford Book of Ameri...
  • Whatever it was I lost, whatever I wept for
    Was a wild, gentle thing, the small dark eyes
    Loving me in secret.
    It is here. At a touch of my hand,
    The air fills with delicat...
    James Wright (1927-1980), U.S. poet. Milkweed (l. 7-12). . . New Oxford Book of American Verse, The. Richard Ellmann, ed. (1976) Oxford University...
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