James Wright American Literature Analysis
Wright proceeded through three rather distinct phases in his poetic career, in all of which he produced work so commendable that he is considered one of the half-dozen best poets of his generation. He is also one of a few poets to have gathered a kind of popular following. For several years after his death, a group of devotees met annually in Martins Ferry on the anniversary to hold a memorial reading and reminisce about Wright’s life and work.
His first phase persists through the early volumes The Green Wall and Saint Judas. The poems of this period are very much in the style fashionable at the mid-twentieth century: composed in strict formal patterns, witty and ironic in tone, integrating a battery of rhetorical devices into a fused, weighty whole. The poems have substance; they are made objects, conspicuous for the fineness of their finish.
In keeping with the dictum that the poet should incorporate as much of his poetic heritage as he could, they reflect, draw on, and add to the long, unbroken line of English poetry. Wright’s background and education suited him well for this kind of work. In the middle of the twentieth century, American sympathies were stridently pro-British; the United States had fought two wars that rescued and preserved the British cultural heritage.
Furthermore, although Wright came from a working-class background, his education reinforced traditional British values. Kenyon College...
(The entire section is 2528 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of James Wright Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!