There is black blood and white blood. There is black air and white air. Andthis selfsame lie takes aim, even if by indirection, at the stifled lives of thoseinflicting the harm, the lives of witting and of unwitting ignorance, and thosewho must live among the stiflers, as if one of them, by all outward and visiblesigns one of them, but on the reverse side of their skin lie awake in the scratchydark, burning to cross over. Not to become one of the harmed but to shed theskin, you get my meaning, the tainted skin of the injuring party.
by C.D. Wright
© C.D. Wright and Copper Canyon Press, 2010.
This week's poem is taken from the book One With Others [a little book of her days], and reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.
Notes courtesy of Copper Canyon:
Investigative journalism is the poet's realm when C.D. Wright
returns to her native Arkansas and examines an explosive incident from
the civil rights movement. Wright interweaves oral histories, hymns,
lists, newspaper accounts, and personal memories—especially those of her
incandescent mentor, Mrs. Vititow—with the voices of witnesses,
neighbors, police, activists, and black students who were rounded up and
detained in an empty public swimming pool. This history leaps howling
off the page.
C.D. Wright has published twelve collections of poetry and prose. Reviewing her previous book, Rising, Falling, Hovering (Copper Canyon, 2008), The New York Times
noted: 'C.D. Wright belongs to a school of exactly one.' Wright is
currently the Israel J. Kapstein Professor of English at Brown
University, and lives outside Providence, Rhode Island.
One With Others won the National Book Critics Circle Award
and was a 2010 National Book Award Finalist. You can read a short
interview with C.D. Wright here, learn more about her at this page, hear her discuss the book here, and hear her read parts of One With Others at this link.
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