America's newest poet laureate, Charles Wright, has said this about his new job: “ I will not be an activist laureate... I’ll probably stay here at home and think about things.”
Margaret Soltan, Associate Professor of English, Georgetown University, will will offer her thoughts about Charles Wright and his place in American culture.
"Unlike most of his predecessors" says Soltan, "Wright has no particular social or political agenda. His poetry is contemplative; he seems to write most of it while gazing, at night, toward the hills around Charlottesville, VA, where he is a professor at the University of Virginia. And what he writes - in long broad American lines, like Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg - expresses the strange metaphysical place in which a lot of contemporary people find themselves, drawn toward belief in God and the meaning and consolation such belief offers a life, yet profoundly skeptical, profoundly bound by earthly life."
There will be a close reading of one of his most famous poems, "Black Zodiac," among whose lines Soltan finds this one most illuminating, suggestive, and beautiful:
Second-hand satisfaction, half-souled,
star charts demagnetized.