Friday, 13 May 2016

Sudden Prose Reprints: "In a Word, a World" by C.D. Wright

Many thanks to Forrest Gander for allowing me to reprint the opening poem of C.D. Wright's last collection.



In a Word, a World



I love them all.

I love that a handful, a mouthful, gets you by, a satchelful can land you a job, a well-chosen clutch of them could get you laid, and that a solitary word can initiate a stampede, and therefore can be formally outlawed--even by a liberal court bent on defending a constitution guaranteeing unimpeded utterance. I love that the Argentine gaucho has over two hundred words for the coloration of horses and the Sami language of Scandinavia has over a thousand words for reindeer based on age, sex, appearance--e.g., a busat has big balls or only one big ball. More than the pristine, I love the filthy ones for their descriptive talent as well as transgressive nature. I love the dirty ones more than the minced, in that I respect extravagant expression more than reserved. I admire reserve, especially when taken to an ascetic nth. I love the particular lexicons of particular occupations. The substrate of those activities. The nomenclatures within nomenclatures. I am of the unaccredited school that believes animals did not exist until Adam assigned them names. My relationship to the word is anything but scientific; it is a matter of faith on my part, that the word endows material substance, by setting the thing named apart from all else. Horse, then, unhorses what is not horse.



C.D. Wright
The Poet, the Lion, Talking Pictures, El Farolito, a Wedding in St. Roch, the Big Box Store, the Warp in the Mirror, Spring, Midnights, Fire & All (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)


1 comment:

mirandalynnbarnes said...

Love the celebratory effulgence of this poem, its wonderful praise of the possibilities of language. The rhythm is, to my mind, executed quite deftly, too. It has movements, like a symphony. And that ending line -- "Horse, then, unhorses what is not horse." Oh, yes, C.D. It certainly does. Wonderful.