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Brief Bio

Jay Wright was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1934. He is an African American playwright, poet, and essayist. He played professional baseball before studying comparative literature at the University of California at Berkeley and Rutgers University.

He is the author of several collections of poetry, most recently Polynomials and Pollen: Parables, Proverbs, Paradigms, and Praise for Lois (Dalkey Archive Press, 2008), The Presentable Art of Reading Absence (2008), Music's Mask and Measure (Flood Editions, 2007), The Guide Signs: Book One (Louisiana State University Press, 2007), and The Guide Signs: Book Two (2007).

Some of his other books of poetry include Transfigurations: Collected Poems (2000), Explications/Interpretations (1984), Elaine's Book (1986), The Double Invention of Komo (1980), Dimensions of History (1976), Soothsayers and Omens (1976), and The Homecoming Singer (1971). He has also written more than thirty plays, a dozen of which have been published.

About Wright's work, critic Harold Bloom wrote, "As an immensely learned poet, Wright tries to defend himself against incessant allusiveness by stripping his diction, sometimes to an astonishing sparseness... His most characteristic art returns always to that commodious lyricism I associate with American poetry at its most celebratory, in Whitman, in Stevens, in Crane, in Ashbery."

Wright's honors include the 2000 Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Literary Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacArthur Fellowship, an Ingram Merrill Foundation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship, and the Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Award.

He was the recipient of the 1996 Academy of American Poets Fellowship. Most recently, Wright was named the 2005 recipient of Yale University's Bollingen Prize for American Poetry... Mr. Wright currently lives in Bradford, Vermont.

Poems - 10 in all

Jay Wright

The Measure
What Is Good
The Homecoming Singer
Love in the Weather's Bells
The Cradle Logic of Autumn
The End of an Ethnic Dream
Meta-A and the A of Absolutes
The Healing Improvisation of Hair
Love in the Water, Love in the Stone

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