The life and work of a major American poet described in his own words.
"There is something about the very form and occasion of a letter--the possibility it offers, the chance to be as open and tentative and uncertain as one likes and also the chance to formulate certain ideas, very precisely--if one is lucky in one's thoughts," wrote James Wright, one of the great lyric poets of the last century, in a letter to a friend. The Great Conversation is a compelling collection that captures the exhilarating and moving correspondence between Wright and his many friends. In letters to fellow poets Donald Hall, Theodore Roethke, Galway Kinnell, James Dickey, Mary Oliver, and Robert Bly, Wright explored subjects from his creative process to his struggles with depression and illness.
A bright thread of wit, gallantry, and passion for describing his travels and his beloved natural world runs through these letters, which begin in 1946 in Martin's Ferry, Ohio, the hometown he would memorialize in verse, and end in New York City, where he lived for the last fourteen years of his life. Selected Letters is no less than an epistolary chronicle of a significant part of the midcentury American poetry renaissance, as well as the clearest biographical picture now available of a major American poet.