caribou cover image Caribou: Poems

by Charles Wright
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Hardcover, 96 pages

Late last year Charles Wright was named our new Poet Laureate by Librarian of Congress James Billington. Wright received this assignment in his 79th year. He recalled some of his younger predecessors – Rita Dove, Billy Collins, Robert Pinsky – whom he found “young and vibrant” and active. He finds himself “old and vibrant” and committed, as Poet Laureate, to just “sit here and vibrate and not do a thing." As he says in Ancient of Days:

This is an old man's poetry,
written by someone who's spent his life
Looking for one truth.

This is the entirety of Whatever Happened to Al Lee:

What happened is what happens to all of us: we walked
On the earth, we threw a couple of handfuls of dirt
Into the air, and when it came down it covered us.

This is an old man’s poetry. And, it’s the real thing.