Black Zodiac Poems

Charles Wright

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

96 Pages



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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award

Black Zodiac offers poems suffused with spiritual longing—lyrical meditations on faith, religion, heritage, and morality. The poems also explore aging and mortality with restless grace. Approaching his vast subjects by way of small moments, Wright magnifies details to reveal truths much larger than the quotidian happenings that engendered them. His is an astonishing, flexible, domestic-yet-universal verse. As the critic Helen Vendler has observed, Wright is a poet who "sounds like nobody else."


Praise for Black Zodiac

"Black Zodiac concentrates on Charles Wright's considerable poetic endowment into a new poignance that has to be termed religious. Some of the poems achieve an authentic gnosis in a rapt mode of negative transcendence."—Harold Bloom

"Black Zodiac occupies the position in Wright's career that The Auroras of Autumn holds in Wallace Stevens's: Having long since mastered his characteristic voice, the poet has passed through the terrifying moment when mastery threatens to become mannerism, and he has emerged as a poet whose every line seems completely recognizable and at the same time utterly fresh."—James Longenbach, The Nation

"Combines an impeccable musical and prosaic sense with the kind of humility possessed by the masters."—Carol Muske, The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads



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Excerpt from Black Zodiac by Charles Wright. Copyright © 1998 by Charles Wright. To be published in March, 1998 by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC. All rights reserved.


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  • Charles Wright

  • Charles Wright was awarded the National Book Award in Poetry in 1983 for Country Music and the 1995 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for Chickamauga. In 2008, he was honored for his lifetime achievement with the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry. He is also the winner of the Pulitzer Price, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Griffin Poetry Prize, and the Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. In 2014, Wright was named the 20th Poet Laureate of the United States for 2014-2015. Wright lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

  • Charles Wright © Holly Wright