Jay Wright is a poet’s poet; identified by poet Dante Micheaux as one of the best American poets—because “his poetry represents everything that America is and…not what he would like it to be.” One of two, this volume of Wright’s selected plays offers readers, performers, theatre makers, and scholars an expansive look into an under-explored area of the poet’s body of work, spanning over four decades, from the early 1970’s to 2015. Those who know Wright’s poetry will find familiar rhythms and figures. New to the scene, however, is the mobilization of polysemy, quantum entanglement, and global-American identities within theatrical form. Arriving amid a pandemic, however, when the face of theatre has been forced to change in order to comport itself to new restrictions on liveness, these texts seem to challenge us to find other ways to perform, to tell stories, to grow together. Moving between Vermont, the Sandia Mountains, unnamed rivers, San Pedro, an urban square, Boca Negra, Mesa City, and numerous liminal spaces of ritual and incantation, these plays, selected by Jay and Lois Wright, showcase quotidian terrestrial affairs spliced with spiritual ascendency. Those who pick up these plays will find themselves involved in everything. In VOLUME TWO: The Crossing, Daughters of the Water, Homage to Anthony Braxton, The Crossing of the Second River, The Delights of Memory, The Disappearance of Mexico, The Possible Impossibility of Leaving Home.
Poetry. Drama. African & African American Studies.
Jay Wright was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico and spent his teens in San Pedro, California, where his father worked in the shipyards. After graduating from high school, he played for two minor-league ball clubs-Mexicali and Fresno-and spent spring training with the San Diego Padres of the old Pacific Coast League. He then served three years in the army, stationed in Germany. Thanks to the G.I. Bill, he received his B.A. in comparative literature from the University of California (Berkeley) and his M.A. from Rutgers University (New Brunswick). A jazz and m�sica Latina bassist, he lives in Bradford, Vermont.
Wright is the author of seventeen books of poetry, including POSTAGE STAMPS (Flood Editions, 2023), THIRTEEN QUINTETS FOR LOIS (Flood Editions, 2021), Music's Mask And Measure (Flood Editions, 2007), The Guide Signs: Book One and Book Two (Louisiana State University Press, 2007), Transfigurations: Collected Poems (Louisiana State University Press, 2000), Elaine's Book (Books on Demand, 1988), The Double Invention of Komo (University of Texas Press, 1980), and The Homecoming Singer (Corinth, 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, his honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hodder Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, a MacArthur Fellowship, and the Bollingen Prize for Poetry.