Carolyn D. Wright Isreal J. Kapstein Professor of English, Professor of Literary Arts

C.D. Wright was born and raised in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. She has published numerous collections of poetry and prose, most recently Steal Away, Selected and New Poems (Copper Canyon, 2002,2003); One Big Self:Prisoners of Louisiana with photographer Deborah Luster (Twin Palms, 2004), and a work in prose, Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil (Copper Canyon, 2005). String Light (University of Georgia Press, 1991) won the 1992 Poetry Center Book Award given by San Francisco State University. Poems and essays have appeared in American Letters & Commentary , Arschile , BRICK , CONJUNCTIONS , sulfur , and other magazines. Wright has composed and published two State literary maps, one for Arkansas, her native state, and one for Rhode Island, her adopted state.

In 1991, she received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts which prompted a move to Mexico. She was awarded the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1986, and in 1987, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bunting Institute. A second NEA was awarded in 1988, as well as a GE Award for literary essay. She was a 1989 recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award and a 1990 recipient of the Rhode Island Governor's Award for the Arts. In 1994, she was named State Poet of Rhode Island, a five-year post. On a fellowship from writers from the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Foundation, Wright curated "a walk-in book of Arkansas," a multi-media exhibition which toured her native state for a two-year period. She was Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop in the Fall of 1997. The University of Arkansas presented her with the Citation of Distinguished Alumni in 1998. In 1999, she was awarded a Lannan Literary Award and an artist award from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts. With poet, Forrest Gander, she edited Lost Roads Publishers for twenty years. Wright's latest collaboration with photographer, Deborah Luster earned them the Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Their project is titled One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana and was published by Twin Palms Press in 2004. They are currently engaged in a project concerning a series of civil rights actions in the Arkansas Delta in 1969. Wright was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2004.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

scholarly work

Books (and Maps)

Cooling Time: An American Poetry Vigil (2005, Copper Canyon Press)

One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana with photographer Deborah Luster (2003, Twin Palms Publishers)

Steal Away: Selected and New Poems (2002, Copper Canyon Press)

Reader's Map of Rhode Island (1999, Lost Roads Publishers)

Deepstep Come Shining (1998, Copper Canyon Press)

Tremble (1996, Ecco Press, paper (1997))

Just Whistle (1994, Kelsey Street Press, Berkeley, CA)

The Reader's Map of Arkansas (1994, University of Arkansas Press)

The Lost Roads Project: A Walk-in Book of Arkansas (1994, University of Arkansas Press)

String Light (1991, University of Georgia Press)

Further Adventures With You (1986, Carnegie-Mellon University Press)

Translations Of The Gospel Back Into Tongues (1983, State University of New York Press, repr. l995)

In Translation

Temblar, Valerie Mejer and Jennifer Clement, translators (2006, Ediciones El Tucan de Virginia)

Chapbooks

from One Big Self (fall 2001, Document, Center for Documentary Studies)

from Deepstep Come Shining (spring 1998, Black Warrior Review)

from Tremble (1994, Ziggurat Press)

Terrorism (1979, Lost Roads Pubs.)

Room Rented By A Single Woman (1977, Lost Roads Pubs.)

Alla Breve Loving (1976, Mill Mtn. Press)

research overview

I have published eleven collections of poetry and prose, two of which – Deepstep Come Shining (1998) and Just Whistle (1994) – are book-length poems. My projects have often aimed to extol the virtues of the local while giving no quarter to the parochial. For One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, I collaborated with photographer Deborah Luster to produce a creative document of Louisiana's prison population through image and text. I composed and published two state literary maps, one for Arkansas, my native state, and one for Rhode Island, my adopted state. For over twenty years, I co-edited Lost Roads Publishers, an independent literary press.

research statement

I am currently engaged in a project with photographer Deborah Luster concerning a series of civil rights actions that transpired in the Arkansas Delta in 1969. Though the media in which I work, and in which Deborah Luster works, are art forms, we are inclined toward subjects that entail research, site visits, interviews, and other key elements of a documentary nature.

funded research

2004 MacArthur Fellowship ($500,000)
2000 Dorothea Lange-Paul Taylor Prize with photographer Deborah Luster from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University ($5000)
1999 Foundation for Contemporary Arts, artist grant ($25,000)
1999 Lannan Literary Award ($75,000)
1998 Rhode Island State Council on the Humanities grant to Lost Roads Publishers for R.I. map research and publication, C.D. Wright as project director ($7,500)
1998 Salomon Faculty Research Award, Brown University ($7,000)
1992 Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award ($125,000)
1989 Whiting Foundation Awards for Writers ($20,000)
1988 GE Foundation Awards for Younger Writers for the literary essay ($5,000)
1988 National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowship in Creative Writing ($20,000)
1987 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship ($20,000)
1986 NEA Residency: Intersection Center for the Arts (San Francisco) for a series of three talks and one reading ($5,000)
1985 Rhode Island State Council on the Arts grant for a sequence of four readings and workshops in Rhode Island ($2500)
1981-82 NEA Fellowship in Creative Writing ($12,000)
1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1987 Small Press Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts as Editor, Lost Roads Publishers ($10,000 per grant)
1976-77, 1977-78 Residency, Poet-in-the-Schools, Office of the Arkansas Arts and Humanities ($5,000 per grant)