Charles Wright Named America’s Poet Laureate

The Library of Congress has chosen Southern writer Charles Wright to serve as the nation’s next poet laureate beginning this fall.

Wright hails from Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. For years, he was a professor at the University of Virginia. Wright attended Davidson College and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; he also served four years in the U.S. Army, and it was while stationed in Italy that Wright began to read and write poetry. He is the author of over 20 books of poetry. In 2014, he was named Poet Laureate of the United States.

In announcing the selection, Librarian of Congress James Billington says Wright is a master of the “meditative, image-driven lyric.”

The 79-year-old Wright succeeds another Southern poet, Natasha Trethewey, as poet laureate. Trethewey toured the country for a regular PBS feature called “Where Poetry Lives.”

He adds the position to a list of honors in the poetry world, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Bollingen Prize and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Wright has written 24 collections of poetry. His work has won the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award and the Bollingen Prize.

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