The CD Wright Lecture Series was established to honor the life and art of poet C.D. Wright, who taught at Brown from 1983 until 2016.
The first C.D. Wright Lecture took place on 18 October 2017 with a presentation by Elizabeth Willis entitled “Silent Letters, Talking Pictures, and the Punchdrunk Gospel of the Bone Man’s Dictionary.”
The second lecture took place on 8 November 2018 with a presentation by Susan Stewart entitled "'Snow Nobody Has Walked On': C.D. Wright and the Paradigm of Birth."
C.D. Wright was born in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, the daughter of a judge and a court reporter. She published over a dozen books, including ShallCross (2016); 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 (2016); One With Others (2011), which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was nominated for a National Book Award; Rising, Falling, Hovering (2008); Like Something Flying Backwards: New and Selected Poems (2007); Deepstep Come Shining (1998); and Tremble (1996). She also provided the text for two book collaborations with photographer Deborah Luster: One Big Self: An Investigation (2003), which documents Louisiana prison inmates; and The Lost Roads Project (1994), a walk-in exhibit of Arkansas.
Though her work is deeply connected to the Ozarks, Wright spent significant periods in New York and San Francisco before moving in 1983 to Rhode Island, where she taught at Brown University. With her husband, poet Forrest Gander, she ran Lost Roads Publishers for over 20 years. Among her honors are a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award, a Robert Creeley Award, and membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2013, she was elected as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
“Poetry is a necessity of life,” Wright said. “It is a function of poetry to locate those zones inside us that would be free, and declare them so.”