By Way of Gratitude for CD Wright, Her Books, Her Poems
I’ve been thinking about missed connections since CD Wright’s death. I adore her work, and books like “One Big Self” and “One With Others” are mentor texts. A while back, as I worked on poems from the perspectives of various people, I actually hoped to meet CD Wright and talk about her process of gathering materials to represent others’ stories through poetry. We emailed back and forth. She was traveling. I was teaching. Then I didn’t follow through and we never did connect.
Her new book, with its gloriously long-winded and whacky title – “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” – underscores what we will miss. I’m particularly taken with the piece, Concerning Why Poetry Offers a Better Deal Than the World’s Biggest Retailer.
It’s not news that poetry is missing from the ordinary places of our lives – supermarket, drug store, subway stop, airline terminal, hospital corridor, lunch room, nursing station, police station, radio station, state house, big box store, you get the idea. Numerous books and essays have studied and theorized as to why.
“Distraction trumps concentration,” CD postulates, “and nothing is more distracting than buying a ginormous pallet of stuff.” And so, as I was running the other day, this idea came to me. What if I could get poems in the corridors of commerce? Thus – the Big Box Poetry Project. Wherein I’ll disperse poems daily throughout April in various places of business so that they might, “enlarge the circle,” as CD writes. Perhaps these poems, placed among soda packs or toothpaste cartons or palettes of mayonnaise might, “avail themselves of the shrapnel of everything: the disappearance of cork trees and coral, the destroyed center of Ramadi, the shape of buildings to come, the pearness of pears…”
Here’s the deal: I’d like your help. Send poem suggestions and let’s build a list. Poems that “keep a big box sense of humor at the ready,” as CD suggests in her book, or just your favorite poems. During April, I’ll put the poem in a place of human endeavor, in the hopes that someone, while shopping or waiting for the bus or dentist, might pick up the page, read the poem, and consume its words and ideas. I’ll even post photographs!
So, if you want to contribute a previously published poem – of your own or written by someone else – send me a note and I’ll take it from there. I don’t want to miss another connection.