Caribou by Charles Wright

By Charles Wright

Charles Wright's truth—the fact of nature, of man's craving for the divine, of aging—is on the middle of the popular poet's newest assortment, Caribou. this can be an elegy to temporary attractiveness, a track for the "stepchild hour, / belonging to neither the sunshine nor darkish, / The hour of disappearing things," and an expression of Wright's stressed questing for a fact past the single ahead of our eyes ("We are all going right into a international of darkish . . . It's ok. That's the place the secrets and techniques are, / the massive ones, those too tall to tell"). Caribou's energy is in its quiet, wry profundity.

"It's reliable to be here," Wright tells us. "It's stable to be the place the world's quiescent, and reminiscent." And to be here—in the pages of this stirring collection—is greater than strong; Caribou is one other awesome reward from the poet round whose impact "the entire global turns out to orbit in a type of meditative, sluggish circle" (Poetry).

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Example text

Considering how this introduction would have to be shaped up, I set in motion such a mass of carefully saved, hitherto unlooked-at ideas and feelings, that I saw at once the ordering of a few words would make necessary a prodigious re­ ordering and rearranging in myself, a process so laborious and multifarious that I could only dare to undertake it independently of any date or pur­ pose. But even assuming it were carried out, under pressure, within this week and that I could cast some of its results into my address, then this in turn would become something else than a mere explanation of the “ Stundenbuch” ; it would, even if it did not presume to touch upon present con­ ditions, nevertheless bring up such implicit con­ tradictions to them, one after another, that it would have small chance to avoid offending the censor; to speak out in terms trimmed to suit the censor would be painful to me, while on the other hand it would, of course, hardly become me to let things come to the point of inveighing against such a situation.

One Munich year is over, I have not done much with it. On the con­ trary, I seem to myself to have retrogressed in every respect, how shall I now do better? My in­ ner world is so inhospitable that I simply cannot undertake to lead you about in it, yes it is prob­ ably obstructed and impassable,—restons dehors. My whole cognizance is limited to the highly negative realization that I should no longer stay in Munich, the people here make too many de­ mands on one, one has to be finished or pass one­ self off as such,—et moi, si j’ai encore quelque avenir, ce sera en recommengant humblement que j’y parviendrai; for whatever in my books may count as (to a certain extent) finished, that too is over for me, since five years ago, since Make Laurids closed himself to behind me, I stand here 44 Wartime Letters as a beginner, as one, to be sure, who is not be­ ginning.

I hold onto them, so to speak, in crossing over—if I only knew whither. My not having written comes from this very reserve and reluctance of my nature, from which I can wrest nothing, unless it be a misgiv­ ing or a complaint, and how should I want to come to you with such things! Even to come in joy over the so far good condition of Duino has no sense— for . . sense will come back into our rejoicing and hoping and suffering when we once more have to do with more comprehensible, more human matters.

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