New Poet Laureate Named

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James Billington the librarian of Congress at the nation’s Library of Congress announced today that Charles Wright has been named this year’s Poet Laureate.  The 78 year old retired professor at the University of Virginia has won almost every other honor in the world of poetry.  When told of the award, he expressed confusion.  He didn’t know exactly what the duties of the office were.  Actually there are very few.  The holders of the title can undertake any project they wish.  Previous award winner Kay Ryan promoted poetry by community-college students.  Ted Kooser offered a free weekly column to newspapers.  Wright said that he would take the next week months to consider his new public role.

Mr. Wright is the author of nearly two dozen collections of poetry that “fuse the legacy of European modernism with mystical evocations of the landscape of the American South.”  As a non-reader of poetry due to some experiences with professors who rejected interpretations of writings other than their own, I find that description of his poetry scary.  But after reading “Whatever Happened to Al Lee?” I might attempt the Laureate’s work.

“Whatever Happened to All Lee?

What happened is what happens to all of us:  we walked

On the earth, we threw a couple of handfuls of dirt

Into the air, and when it came down it covered us.

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