Charles Wright named US Poet Laureate

U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright says poetry has been the pivot around which his life has turned for 50 years.

The 79-year-old retired University of Virginia professor assumed the poet laureate’s job last week. The Library of Congress chose Wright to succeed Natasha Trethewey in June.

“Poetry has helped me discover what little inner life I have,” Wright told The Daily Progress ( “And to focus that inner life in what I want to say, and what I’m thinking about all the time in words and a solid form.

“Poetry has been very important to me in the sense that it focuses my longing about things, and my questions about things,” he said.

Wright has written 24 collections of poetry. His work has won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bollingen Prize.

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Here is a poem by Charles Wright:

Still Life On A Matchbox Lid

The heart is colder then the eye is.
The watchers, the holy ones,
know this, no shortcut to the sky,
A single dog hair can split the wind.

If you want great tranquility,
it’s hard work and a long walk.

Don’t brood on the past.
The world is without appendages,
no message, no name.

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