Negative Blue is the culmination of the cycle that won Wright the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award.
Time will append us like suit coats left out overnight
On a deck chair, loose change dead weight in the right pocket,
Silk handkerchief limp with dew,
sleeves in a slow dance with the wind.
And love will kill us–
Love, and the winds from under the earth
that grind us to grain-out.
–from “Still Life with Spring and Time to Burn”
When Charles Wright published Appalachia in 1998, it marked the completion of a nine-volume project, of which James Longenbach wrote in the Boston Review, “Charles Wright’s trilogy of trilogies–call it ‘The Appalachian Book of the Dead’–is sure to be counted among the great long poems of the century.”
The first two of those trilogies were collected in Country Music (1982) and The World of the Ten Thousand Things (1990). Here Wright adds to his third trilogy (Chickamauga , Black Zodiac , and Appalachia ) a section of new poems that suggest new directions in the work of this sensuous, spirit-haunted poet.