KWH Pick of the Week: “Deepstep Come Shining” by C.D. Wright, Chosen by Nicole Cooley

Posted on September 24, 2012


Knox Writers’ House Contributor’s Pick of the Week 9/24/2012

Deepstep Come Shining by C.D. Wright in Providence, RI

Chosen by Nicole Cooley in New Orleans, LA who says:

“Beautiful things feel every vacancy,” CD Wright tells us in Deepstep Come Shining.

Listening to CD Wright read these excerpts from Deepstep Come Shining, her wonderful
book-length poem, which explores a car trip through the South, I realize for the first time
that this is a poem about blindness. Ironically, it’s not seeing the poem on the page but
hearing it that helps me to understand this. I’ve taught the book several times, and read
it on my own as well. But listening to Wright speak the words of the poem aloud is a
decidedly different experience.

In my reading of the poem, on my own and with my students, we have always focused on
its page space, the way the poem work as a visual document, its use of silence. Much of
that analysis is not available to me as I listen. Without my usual interpretive frame, the
poem is inflected differently; it comes alive to me as language trying to make us revise
our understanding of the way we perceive the world. It strikes me now as a poem about
the importance of seeing.

Over and over, CD Wright gives us the world she describes through sharp-edged and
haunting images invoking sight: a baby with empty eye sockets, a mason jar full of glass

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