"It's not just a bunch of words," says U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright. "Language has purpose," The 1957 Davidson graduate will be the star of "An Evening with Charles Wright" at 8 p.m. on Thursday in Duke Family Performance Hall on the Davidson College campus.
Wright chose Davidson as an undergraduate because his parents wanted him to have a proper education. He majored in history, but his greatest desire was to write fiction. One thing he learned at Davidson was that he was not a storyteller -- a shock for the Tennessee-born student.
He gave up on the idea of writing fiction, but later, in Italy, Wright happened on the poems of Ezra Pound, and, as he told the Paris Review, "I discovered a form that seemed suited to my mental and emotional inclinations -- the lyric poem, a form that seemed suited to my mental and emotional inclinations -- the lyric poem, a form, or subgenre, I guess, that didn't depend on a narrative structure, but on an imagistic one, an associational one."
The author of 20 books, Wright has won every prize awarded to poets, including the Pulitzer Prize. He is retired from the University of Virginia where he taught English literature and creative writing.
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