Thursday, January 14, 2016

Some 30-plus years ago, the Poetry Center at San Francisco State, concerned at having given its annual book award the previous two years to, I believe, Laura Moriarty and Jackson Mac Low, asked C.D. Wright to judge the 1985 prize, under the presumption that this would take care of any implication that the school was too much in thrall to language poetry. They should have known better than to expect the woman who brought Frank Stanford’s battlefield where the moon says I love you to the world to meet expectations. She picked my book Paradise, thereby initiating what I take to have  been the real prize, a thirty-year friendship with a wonderful person. She was a great writer with a restless, probing intelligence that never settled and was always questing. Although I had not known who she was back in 1985, I was to learn a lot from her, as I expect to do from her writing till the end of my days. The last time we saw each other was at a reading she gave at Haverford College, after which we went to dinner with Tom Devaney, Gus Stadler and others. I’m going to hold the tone of her voice & that lilt of Arkansas accent in my ear forever.