In this National Book Award finalist and National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, C.D. Wright returns to her native Arkansas and examines explosive incidents grounded in the Civil Rights Movement. In her signature style, Wright interweaves oral histories, hymns, lists, interviews, newspaper accounts, and personal memories—especially those of her incandescent mentor, Mrs. Vittitow—with the voices of witnesses, neighbors, police, and activists.
One with Others represents Wright’s most audacious experiment yet in loading up lyric with evidentiary fact ... The 'poetry' of these books lies partly in the fuguelike structure of their information, contrapuntal patterns worthy of Bach ... The flip side of engulfing so much historical material, however, is that the book becomes a historical artifact, warily circulating in the world ... Difficult poems often strike an intimate tone, offering their honeyed nonsense as bait: come closer, they whisper. But this isn’t coyness; it’s caution ... An affecting element of this book is the way its elegiac impulses accord with, even as they chafe against, the documentary impulses ... One with Others celebrates the way aesthetic form can represent, and therefore recalibrate, social fact.
MacArthur fellow Wright is known for her social consciousness and improvisational style, and she takes both qualities up a notch in this dramatically investigative and looping portrait of V ... Wright’s sharply fractured, polyphonic, and suspenseful book-length poem is both a searing dissection of hate crimes and their malignant legacy and a lyric, droll, and fiery elegy to a woman of radiant resistance.
...the book probes the limits and intersections of the personal and the political ... Through juxtaposition and repetition, she weaves a compelling, disturbing, and often beautiful tapestry that at once questions the ability of language to get at the complicated truth of history ('because the warp is everywhere'), and underscores the ethical imperative to try.