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"For a long while now, C. D. Wright has been writing some of the greatest poetry-cum-prose you can find in American literature. One Big Self does to the contemporary prison-industrial complex what James Agee did to poverty -- it reacts passionately and lyrically (and idiosyncratically) to a sociopolitical abomination. This book, while angry and sorrowful and bewildered, has humor, constant levity and candor, and countless moments of incredible beauty." --Dave Eggers, The New York Times Book Review"Wright has found a way to wed fragments of an iconic America to a luminously strange idiom, eerie as a tin whistle, which she uses to evoke the haunted quality of our carnal existence."--The New YorkerInspired by numerous visits inside Louisiana state prisons--where MacArthur Fellow C.D. Wright served as a "factotum" for a portrait photographer--One Big Self bears witness to incarcerated men and women and speaks to the psychic toll of protracted time passed in constricted space. It is a riveting mosaic of distinct voices, epistolary pieces, elements from a moralistic board game, road signage, prison data, inmate correspondence, and "counts" of things--from baby's teeth to chigger bites: Count your folding moneyCount the times you said you wouldn't go backCount your debtsCount the roaches when the light comes onCount your kids after the housefireOne Big Self--originally published as a large-format limited edition that featured photographs and text--was selected by The New York Times and The Village Voice as a notable book of the year. This edition features the poem exclusively.C.D. Wright is the author of ten books of poetry, including several collaborations with photographer Deborah Luster. She is a professor at Brown University.
C.D. Wright was born in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, the daughter of a judge and a court reporter. She published over a dozen books, including ShallCross (2016); The Poet, The Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, A Wedding in St. Roch, The Big Box Store, The...
from One Big Self ["Count your fingers"] by C. D. Wright ...
One Big Self is a remarkable collaboration between photographer Deborah Luster, poet C.D. Wright, and inmates in three Louisiana prisons. This project allows the prisoners to present themselves as they wish to be seen.
One big self : prisoners of Louisiana (Book, 2003) [WorldCat.org]
Originally released in 2003 as an expensive, limited-edition art book featuring photographs by Deborah Luster, Wright's poetic book-length meditation and report on life in three Louisiana priso