“Coda” is the last poem in Wright’s collection Boleros, a book he dedicated to his wife, Lois. Like a coda that ends a musical composition by summarizing main themes and variations, the poem forms a definitive ending to a volume in which Wright continues his spiritual and intellectual quest. This quest takes many biographical and mythological forms. He tells of places he has lived—both physically, such as Mexico, and spiritually, such as India. He reinvents stories and explores new poetic forms. In “Coda,” Wright uses meter and rhyme reminiscent of the bolero dance, with its triple meter and staccato endings. He uses an open stanza form, incorporating lines from popular Latin American songs into an English-language environment. The form of the poem thus enhances its content, which concerns the search for culture cross-currents.
“Coda” is a good example of Wright’s continuing effort to transform language and cultural visions into new forms that emphasize themes from the body of his poetry. The three stanzas all use eight lines, with a conventional paired rhyme scheme. A refrain, repeated three times at the end, finishes the poem. Allusions to Latin American culture deepen the density of the poetic context. Poems such as “Coda” challenge the reader to enter the world of an original poet who is continuing his quest for identity.