In James Wright: A Life in Poetry (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), poet/essayist Jonathan Blunk has written a long-awaited biographical work of one of the 20th century’s major U.S. poets, one who spent formative years at the University of Washington studying with Theodore Roethke and Stanley Kunitz. “Admirable . . . Blunk gives discerning attention to Wright’s work, following individual poems from draft form to critical reception, as he traces Wright’s larger artistic trajectory . . . Unarguably the definitive work on Wright.” —Publishers Weekly.
“Even though they never met, in Blunk, poet and co-editor of Wright’s Selected Letters, James Wright has found his Boswell . . . Blunk meticulously explores Wright’s years of teaching, his painful bouts of depression, his recurring alcoholism, and how his poems were crafted . . . Quoting generously from Wright’s poems throughout, Blunk carefully chronicles the ongoing development of his style . . . A much-needed, engaging, and discerning biography that should help Wright find a new generation of readers.” —Kirkus Reviews.