Poetry Book Society Special Commendation
Robert Wrigley is a poet of America’s northern Rocky Mountains. Over three decades his poetry’s pervading concerns have been rural Western landscapes and humankind’s place within the natural world. His most recent poems have presented a portrait of a nation, one that is a singular part of a singular planet, with an exuberant and frequently exasperating culture. In such a country, the glimpse of a horse under a full moon can be a defining moment, full of grace and a new, if not always comfortable, awareness. So it is with a saved lock of a lover’s hair, the memory of a vanished glacier, or a childhood friend disappeared in war.
This selection is his first UK publication and covers work from nine collections, including Reign of Snakes, Lives of the Animals, Earthly Meditations and Beautiful Country. Elegiac and lyrical, playful and angry, The Church of Omnivorous Light offers a vision that is fierce, unflinching, and clear.
'Wrigley ponders what it is that we have that animals lack, and what animals have that we can only long for: their perfect fit with the cosmos… Dramatic and heady, his transporting poems knit us tightly into the glistening web of life' - Booklist.
'In this new book, Wrigley has become someone else, someone who has wandered into a ferocious cave of the natural world and suddenly sees his life, and ours as well, in bold and undreamed of colours. It's almost as though a veil has been lifted from his eyes, and the glorious and terrifying truths have been revealed in poems that are at once majestic and terrifying' - Philip Levine, Ploughshares.
'Lives of the Animals is, in my opinion, a living, breathing, honest-to-goodness contemporary masterpiece' - John Burnside, The Poetry House (Scotland).
'One of the most satisfying books of poetry I've read in recent years… This is a tough, unflinching book; that its toughness is at the same time elaborately musical is part of its potent message' - Judith Kitchen, The Georgia Review.
Robert Wrigley: The Church of Omnivorous Light
Robert Wrigley reads five poems from The Church of Omnivorous Light (2013): ‘Moonlight: Chickens on the Road’, ‘Heart Attack, ‘County’, ‘Mouth’ and ‘A Lock of Her Hair’. Neil Astley filmed Wrigley reading his poems in the basement of the Butchery, Helen Ivory and Martin Figura’s home after his reading the previous evening for Café Writers Norwich. On viewing the subterranean footage, Astley decided that a black and white treatment was necessary, one which was nevertheless in keeping with Wrigley’s author photographs, which are always Old West monochrome. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed and edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).
Robert Wrigley at Boston Court
Robert Wrigley reads from his work at Boston Court Performing Arts Center (Pasadena, California) in an evening presented by Claremont Graduate University, the Poetry Society of America, and Red Hen Press in March 2010 (video by www.Poetry.LA).