Charles Wright Named U.S. Poet Laureate

Posted on June 22, 2014

Charles Wright is the new U.S. Poet Laureate. The appointment was announced last week by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. Wright is the Library's 20th Poet Laureate Consultant. He succeeds Natasha Trethewey and will begin his duties this fall.

Billington said in the announcement, "Charles Wright is a master of the meditative, image-driven lyric. For almost 50 years his poems have reckoned with what he calls 'language, landscape, and the idea of God.' Wright’s body of work combines a Southern sensibility with an allusive expansiveness, for moments of singular musicality."

Former Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey says, "I am delighted by the appointment of Charles Wright, a poet whose work I have long admired. His deep and abiding knowledge of poetry - his belief in its power to sustain us - makes him precisely the kind of advocate we need in the post."

Wright has authored 24 poetry collections in his career. His most recent collection, Caribou: Poems, was published Farrar, Straus and Giroux in March. Wright won a Pulitzer Prize for his collection, Black Zodiac. He won a National Book Award for Country Music: Selected Early Poems. Other prizes Wright has received include the National Book Critics Circle Award, Bollingen Prize, Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt Prize and the International Griffin Poetry Prize.

Wright told NPR that he will not be an activist laureate. He says, "I'll probably stay here at home and think about things."

The Poet Laureate is selected for a one-year term by the Librarian of Congress. Wright's term will run from 2014 to 2015. A Charles Wright biography can be found here on the Poetry Foundation's website.

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