Charles Wright makes a compelling argument for the spiritual discipline of just hanging around. In a 1992 interview, Wright described his poetic subject as “language, landscape, and the idea of God.” More often than not, in his poems Wright speaks of or to his Maker as if the two were sitting in rocking chairs on Wright’s back porch, whiskeying away another sunset.
His combination of immediacy and wistfulness can lend his work a singular spiritual authenticity, at once contemporary and rooted in our oldest longings. Though meditation on the natural world often pushes his poems into explicitly religious idioms, Wright is never quite at home in these realms and is happiest to let his striking images speak for themselves. Wright seems caught between the incredulousness of a specific theism and the vacuousness of total disavowal. His poems ask valuable questions about the imagination’s ability to abide and evolve within this narrow space.