Facts about Charles Wright
Charles Wright Biography
Charles Wright was the United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (more commonly known as the U.S. Poet Laureate) from 2014-2015.
Charles Wright is a poet with a Southern sensibility — he grew up in Tennessee — and his poems are often about observing the landscape and surroundings and meditating on the idea of God. A 1957 graduate of North Carolina’s Davidson College, he spent 4 years in the U.S. Army, stationed mostly in Italy. That’s where he discovered the work of Ezra Pound, and Wright began writing his own poems.
Wright came back to the U.S., went through the graduate program at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop (1961-63), then got a job teaching at the University of California in Irvine in 1966. His first collection, The Grave of the Right Hand, was published in 1970.
Charles Wright left California for the University of Virginia in 1983, the same year he published Country Music: Selected Early Poems, which won the National Book Award. He’s won several awards since then and published more than 20 books, including a translation of Eugenio Montale’s The Storm and Other Poems, which won the 1978 PEN Translation Prize. His other collections include Hard Freight (1973), Chickamauga (1995), the Pulitzer winning Black Zodiac (1997), Scar Tissue (2007) and Caribou (2014).
Charles Wright was named Poet Laureate on 12 June 2014, serving a one-year term. He was preceded in the post by Natasha Trethewey and succeeded in 2015 by Juan Felipe Herrera.