Poetry. African American Studies. At once clear and hermetic, oracular and elegiac, MUSIC'S MASK AND MEASURE presents a series of five "equations" in a cosmic algebra. Drawing from such disparate sources as medieval theology, modern physics, and a Pythagorean sense of harmony, these poems offer glimpses of a dance in which only one partner can be seen. Reading them, we move in "the firm embrace / of the unsolved."
Jay Wright was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1934 and currently lives in Vermont. Wright was a professional baseball player, a member of the U.S. Army medical corps, a jazz bassist, and has been a visiting professor of literature at many universities. Active during the Black Arts Movement and the New American Poetry, his first poetry collection was published in 1967 and he has since published over fifteen books of poetry-including THIRTEEN QUINTETS FOR LOIS (2021), MUSIC'S MASK AND MEASURE (2007), The Guide Signs: Book One and Book Two (2007), Transfigurations: Collected Poems (2000), Elaine's Book (1988), The Double Invention of Komo (1980), and The Homecoming Singer (1971). He is also the author of more than forty plays and a dozen essays. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wright's honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, a Joseph Compton Creative Writing Fellowship (Dundee University), the Hodder Fellowship (Princeton University), and The American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.