One Big Self: An Investigation

One Big Self An Investigation For a long while now C D Wright has been writing some of the greatest poetry cum prose you can find in American literature One Big Self does to the contemporary prison industrial complex what James A

  • Title: One Big Self: An Investigation
  • Author: C.D. Wright Deborah Luster
  • ISBN: 9781556592584
  • Page: 167
  • Format: Paperback
  • For a long while now, C D Wright has been writing some of the greatest poetry cum prose you can find in American literature One Big Self does to the contemporary prison industrial complex what James Agee did to poverty it reacts passionately and lyrically and idiosyncratically to a sociopolitical abomination This book, while angry and sorrowful and bewildered, has For a long while now, C D Wright has been writing some of the greatest poetry cum prose you can find in American literature One Big Self does to the contemporary prison industrial complex what James Agee did to poverty it reacts passionately and lyrically and idiosyncratically to a sociopolitical abomination This book, while angry and sorrowful and bewildered, has humor, constant levity and candor, and countless moments of incredible beauty Dave Eggers, The New York Times Book Review Wright has found a way to wed fragments of an iconic America to a luminously strange idiom, eerie as a tin whistle, which she uses to evoke the haunted quality of our carnal existence The New YorkerInspired by numerous visits inside Louisiana state prisons where MacArthur Fellow C.D Wright served as a factotum for a portrait photographer One Big Self bears witness to incarcerated men and women and speaks to the psychic toll of protracted time passed in constricted space It is a riveting mosaic of distinct voices, epistolary pieces, elements from a moralistic board game, road signage, prison data, inmate correspondence, and counts of things from baby s teeth to chigger bites Count your folding moneyCount the times you said you wouldn t go backCount your debtsCount the roaches when the light comes onCount your kids after the housefireOne Big Self originally published as a large format limited edition that featured photographs and text was selected by The New York Times and The Village Voice as a notable book of the year This edition features the poem exclusively.C.D Wright is the author of ten books of poetry, including several collaborations with photographer Deborah Luster She is a professor at Brown University.

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      Published :2018-010-14T14:01:59+00:00

    About “C.D. Wright Deborah Luster”

    1. C.D. Wright Deborah Luster

      C D Wright was born in Mountain Home, Arkansas She earned a BA in French from Memphis State College now the University of Memphis in 1971 and briefly attended law school before leaving to pursue an MFA from the University of Arkansas, which she received in 1976 Her poetry thesis was titled Alla Breve Loving.In 1977 the publishing company founded by Frank Stanford, Lost Roads Publishers, published Wright s first collection, Room Rented by A Single Woman After Stanford died in 1978, Wright took over Lost Roads, continuing the mission of publishing new poets and starting the practice of publishing translations In 1979, she moved to San Francisco, where she met poet Forrest Gander Wright and Gander married in 1983 and had a son, Brecht, and co edited Lost Roads until 2005.In 1981, Wright lived in Dolores Hidalgo, Mexico and completed her third book of poems, Translation of the Gospel Back into Tongues In 1983 she moved to Providence, Rhode Island to teach writing at Brown University as the Israel J Kapstein Professor of English In 2013, C.D Wright died on January 12, 2016 at the age of 67 in Barrington, Rhode Island.

    889 thoughts on “One Big Self: An Investigation”

    1. Witness. Wright allows the reader to witness these convicts, these Louisiana jails, the experience of entering and being able to leave them, and feel the confusion and strength of such witnessing. She refrains from moralizing, instead giving the fragments. Arranging the fragments in such a way as to let the voices circle into themselves and amplify into "One Big Self." The big pages, the long lengths of her lines, the phrases dangling in space, and the spaces between lines also aid in this sense [...]


    2. One Big Self is a brilliant exercise in form: Wright draws on conversation snippets, street signs, and personal rumination, arranging them into cohesive poems that orbit a central event: Wright & photographer Deborah Lester spent significant time at three prisons in Louisiana. Wright is a sponge, a master observer. In lesser hands, this is a standard victim narrative. Academic white woman interviews predominantly black prison culture & exposes atrocities. Yet Wright finds humor here, she [...]


    3. I've always loved C.D. Wright. She writes in a way that is emotional and experimental at the same time. She uses a lot of space in this book of poems and that works well with the subject matter. Repetition, heat, and the constant question about the worth of prisoners returns throughout each section. The reader is almost unsure where one poem ends, another begins, or if it is all one poem. You feel trapped, but get the sense of being able to escape, which is how CD Wright must have felt in the pr [...]


    4. Benjamin says something about how all masterpieces obliterate a genre, no? My favorite books tend to, at the least, mess with them. This book, like most of Wright's, isn't quite here or there. It's documentary (like Agee!); it's conversational. It's not as splendid as DEEP STEP COME SHINING (ah ah ah!), but it's gorgeously clear-eyed and strange. It's the sort of book that works wonderfully but would be a disaster to imitate. (And so many poets are writing books "on" something today and proceedi [...]


    5. written in a similar style to deepstep come shining. that headless floating voice feeling. quotes from prisoners, sign posts, posters. lousiana heavy as a bell in the heat and driving around the backroads with the windows down. what i found most interesting is thinking about when something clicks together and when it doesn't. i'm not sure i could say exactly why deepstep does. the styles are so similar. the difference between very very good and stunning.


    6. Do yourself a favor and read this - and when reading it, listen along to the author reciting it here. Wright paints a picture of life inside the southern prison system. She immerses you in that particular way of life in a very human yet spooky poetic verse. It's been a few months since I've really appreciated a poem, and this was a nice fresh start. Sometimes, the English language is just goddamn mesmerizing.


    7. what i love most about this book is the collage of actual voices, sign quotes and thoughts from the speaker/interviewer. this choice has heft; it really goes for the gut and i love that. i listened to a (fascinating!) interview with C.D. Wright about her process and it reminded me so much of the social science research we do at my day job. now i am stoked about data collection/poetry research overlap!


    8. A book that takes a snapshot look at the Louisiana prison system and the faces that comprise this system. The book portrays the complexity of situations that exist. What to think of a person, and a society, that imprisons more people of one person's immediate family then live outside the prison complex?


    9. A total immersion into the idiom/grit/ache of Louisiana prisons; the photo edition by Deborah Luster is an overwhelming compilation of inmate portraits; I taught the poems in my intro class--50% loved it, 50% hated it--no doubt this book is about encounter.


    10. Kind of a random selection on my part. Previous to today, I had literally no idea who this C.D Wright person was, but I'm glad I do now <3 kind of an eccentric writer but her poetry was excellent. It was kind of weird reading about a white woman interpreting what jail life is like for others and then making it her art, as that is literally the definition of privilege, but she did it so effortlessly my woke wig was in orbit. Definitely worth a reread in the near future.


    11. I don't know if you can bear witness for prisons-worth of inmates. Still, I learned more from this book than from my limited interaction at the Angola Prison Rodeo. And any attempt at witness and empathy-building is needed. There are more than 2 million people in the prison system whom we hardly ever see or think of.I read, and enjoyed, this collection in an afternoon. The collage form flowed fairly smoothly and built on itself. There are certainly neat voices in it. And at least it didn't read [...]


    12. This was an interesting book -- the poem that originally accompanied photographs by Deborah Luster of prison inmates in Louisiana. It ranges and returns, a thing I love about her -- she’s got this ability to traverse vast distances in her images/metaphor, yet still maintain a thread through repetition and, in that repetition, amplification. I wonder if I’d have been more wowed if the photos were here, too. The poem feels very emotional, but also thin -- it’s a reaction, and the subject tha [...]


    13. Typically, fragmented work washes over me; I enjoy the sensation but leave the book dazed, unable to recall the details of any single poem. Not the case here: the clarity of thought, deliberate repetition of key motifs, and the music of it all make for not just a memorable read but a truly meditative experience. Wright takes the extra step to keep the subject matter, the American penal system (which could easily have been didactic or melodramatic), insightful, emotional, and presents it without [...]


    14. One Big Self was an amazing torrent of bits and pieces of people's lives, those of prisoners in three Louisiana prisons. Wright shifts expertly between the voices of the prisoners and the voice of the narrator, creating a tapestry of sometimes haunting personal snapshots, lives before and during incarceration, and her own reflections on her visit and the state of the prison system in the US. This format is a perfect fit for Wright's style - a combination of vernacular and lyrical language.


    15. Don't like the format of this book. Prefer the poems by themselves (published in 2007 by copper canyon). The glossy pages of the photo book seem to detract from the texture of the poetry, and the photos while inventive do not feel nearly as powerful as wrights verse. The result for me was a frustrating overload of unpleasant visual data.


    16. This collection is moving, and is a kind of approach to poetry - experimental, honest, discursive - that I feel compelled to support. For this reason alone, the book is worth reading. None of the pieces were particularly startling or beautiful, and you got the feel that it was more a poetic diary than a composition


    17. This book-length poem is based on CD Wright's visits to prisons in the South. There's a lot of discussion of the desire for more objectivity in poetry, or less self. That's exactly what this book brings about, a sense of being immersed in an almost authorless, yet beautifully voiced reality.


    18. I love the idea of journalistic poetry, and the conversation snippets remixed into poems worked well. I'd be interested to talk to people about how this succeeds and fails as a style for a white academic investigating a louisiana prison.


    19. This isn't the style of poetry that I particularly enjoy, but the raw emotions Wright captures are compelling. The poems will pause you to stop and think about your life, the life of prison inmates, and whether the two are really all that different.


    20. This was incredibly compelling and needs to be read in one sitting. I'm still puzzling through the method of it, how it works as dependent on so much pastichebut it's finally very moving in its documentary effect.





    21. a story from southern jails written as abstracted poetry and found words. i read it for the love of something new. i found something new.


    22. I love this book. The language and images fall into me, disturbing and wondrous. I'd love to own the volume that is both the photos and poetry.



    23. A sad and touching many-voiced long poem. An admirable and interesting project, but it didn't completely cohere for me and I'm not sure I would pick it up again.


    24. Interesting what she does with language, lots of repeated phrases with variations. Always continues to delight the reader.


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