CD Wright

C.D. Wright, I.J. Kapstein Professor of Literary Arts


We extend our deepest sympathy to Forrest and Brecht Gander as we join them in mourning the loss of poet, CD Wright, a celebrated member of the Literary Arts faculty, and part of the Brown family since 1983.

See tributes in the L.A. Times and The New York Times for more about C.D. Wright, her life, and her work.

C.D. Wright, Israel J. Kapstein Professor of Literary Arts, was winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry in March 2011 for One With Others: [a little book of her days], which was also a finalist for the National Book Award and was selected as winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets.

C.D. Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has published over a dozen books, including Rising, Falling, Hovering, Like Something Flying Backwards: New and Selected Poems, and a text edition of One Big Self: An Investigation, focused on Louisiana inmates. With photographer Deborah Luster, Wright won the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize for One Big Self from the Center for documentary Studies at Duke University. She had published several book-length poems including Deepstep Come Shining and Just Whistle. Wright had composed and published two state literary maps, one for Arkansas, her native state, and one for Rhode Island, her adopted state. Wright was former State Poet of Rhode Island and with poet Forrest Gander she edited Lost Roads Publishers for over twenty years.

Honors include awards from the Wallace Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts as well as the Lannan Literary Award. In 2004 Wright was named a MacArthur Fellow; in 2005 she was given the Robert Creeley Award, and elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, Rising, Falling, Hovering won the International Griffin Poetry Prize. 

In the fall of 2015 Wright released a companion volume to Cooling Time: an American Poetry Vigil entitled The Poet, the Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All. Also in 2015, a selected book of poems of was released in Slovenia, Skritost (Obscurity) where she was guest of honor at the Slovenia Poetry and Wine festival. And ShallCross, a new collection of poems is slated for a 2016 publication.  

To honor her life and her art, her friends, family and colleagues established the C.D. Wright Lecture Series in 2016, to be given annually each fall.