Publication Year



Poetry, creative writing, literary criticism, Charles Wright, literature


Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Modern Literature | Poetry


In February 1980, I approached Professor Leslie Wolf, Acting Director of the University of Redlands Creative Writing Program, to inquire about the possibility of his sponsoring me in a writing project for honors at graduation. My interest was in both writing and criticizing modern poetry--fields in which Professor Wolf is published and highly knowledgeable. Under his guidance, I surveyed the works of several poets and for reasons which will, hopefully, be self-evident throughout this paper, chose to critique the poetry of Charles Wright.

Occasionally Wright demonstrates a traditional poetic consciousness by structuring much of his poetry within arbitrary motifs. For example, in his book, China Trace, no poem is longer than twelve lines. Yet, he manages within these self-imposed boundaries to achieve a fluidity and freedom unequaled by most of his contemporaries. I decided to examine several of what I judged to be key poems from his published works: "Virgo Descending," which appears in Bloodlines; and 'Clear Night," "1975," "Stone Canyon Nocturne," and "Noon," which appear in China Trace. These five, though not necessarily his best writing, seemed representative of a broad spectrum of his poetic inquiry.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Creative Writing