Rising, Falling, Hovering


“Wright’s emphasis on bearing witness, on counting and recounting victims, and calling the powerful to account, makes up one crucial aspect of her project, and calls to mind the work of 20th-century activist poets like Kenneth Fearing, Langston Hughes and Muriel Rukeyser. But the fragmentary forms and skittering attention of her poems suggest that 21st-century activist poetry may face some novel challenges, since it is obliged not only to bear witness to obvious evils but also to elucidate more subtle, tangled and disguised patterns of injustice. Wright’s new poems take up a wide variety of thorny issues — the war in Iraq, the post-Katrina debacle in New Orleans, illegal immigration, the human consequences of global capitalism — but Wright understands it won’t suffice merely to tote up the soldiers wounded, levees breached, Mexicans arrested and jobs lost. She also has to consider the interdependent systems that rely on and engender those phenomena, the buried roots from which those statistics stem. And this is where Wright really shines.”

—Joel Brouwer


Darren Angle