Jay Wright (poet)

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Jay Wright
Born (1935-05-25) May 25, 1935 (age 83)
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Language English, Spanish, Dogon
Nationality American
Genre Lyrical Poetry, American Poetry
Notable works The Double Invention of Komo, Elaine's Book, "Alburquerque Cemetery",[1] "The Cradle Logic of Autumn"[2]
Notable awards 1986 MacArthur Fellowship, 1996 Fellowship of the Academy of American Poets, 2005 Bollingen Prize in Poetry, 2006 American Book Award Lifetime Achievement Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
Spouse Lois Wright

Jay Wright (born May 25, 1935[3]) is an African-American poet, playwright, and essayist. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico,[4] he currently lives in Bradford, Vermont. Although his work is not as widely known as other American poets of his generation, it has received considerable critical acclaim. Wright's work is emblematic of what the Guyanese-British writer Wilson Harris has termed the "cross-cultural imagination." Following his receiving the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 2005, Wright is recognized as one of the principal contributors to poetry in the early 21st century.


Before embarking on his writing career, Wright played professional baseball, appearing 76 games over two seasons (1953–1954) with the Mexicali Eagles of the Arizona-Texas League and the Fresno Cardinals of the California League.

After his baseball career, Wright studied comparative literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and Rutgers University.[4] In the 1960s, he befriended fellow African-American author Henry Dumas and later wrote the introduction to Dumas's Play Ebony, Play Ivory: Poetry.

Over the years Wright has been poet in residence at Yale University as well as the University of Dundee and historically black colleges and universities such as Talladega College, Tougaloo College, Texas Southern University.



  • Death as History Poets Press, 1967
  • The Homecoming Singer,[citation needed] 1971
  • Soothsayers and Omens. Seven Woods Press. 1976. ISBN 978-0-913282-10-6.
  • The Double Invention of Komo, 1980
  • Explications/Interpretations, University of Virginia, 1984
  • Dimensions of History, Kayak, 1984
  • Elaine's Book. University Press of Virginia. 1988. ISBN 978-0-8139-1201-1.
  • Robert B. Stepto, ed. (1987). Selected Poems. afterword by Harold Bloom. Books on Demand. ISBN 978-0-7837-1946-7.
  • Boleros, 1991
  • Transfigurations: Collected Poems. Louisiana State University Press. 2000. ISBN 978-0-8071-2630-1.
  • Music's Mask and Measure Flood Editions, 2007
  • The Guide Signs: Book One and Book Two. Louisiana State University Press. 2007. ISBN 978-0-8071-3265-4.
  • Polynomials and pollen: parables, proverbs, paradigms, and praise for Lois. Dalkey Archive Press. 2008. ISBN 978-1-56478-499-5.
  • The Presentable Art of Reading Absence. Dalkey Archive Press. 2008. ISBN 978-1-56478-498-8.
  • Disorientations: Groundings. Flood Editions. 2013. ISBN 978-0-9838893-4-2.


  • Balloons: A Comedy in One Act, Baker's Plays, 1968
  • "Alburquerque Cemetery"


  • David Lehman, ed. (2006). The Oxford book of American poetry. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-516251-6.
  • J. D. McClatchy, ed. (2003). The Vintage book of contemporary American poetry. Vintage Books. ISBN 978-1-4000-3093-4.


  1. ^ Wright, Jay. "Albuquerque Graveyard". Smith University. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  2. ^ Wright, Jay. "The Cradle Logic of Autumn". Transformations. Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  3. ^ Jay Wright at poets.org.
  4. ^ a b Poets.org – Poetry, Poems, Bios & More – Jay Wright

External links

  • Bollingen Prize website
  • Book Review: Transfigurations
  • Jay Wright's poetry focus of symposium at Washington University
  • Jay Wright Poetry Reading at Columbia College
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