This video segment from Poetry Everywhere features the poet C. D. Wright reads her poem “Lake Echo, Dear” at the Dodge Poetry Festival. Born in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas in 1949, Wright has developed a style of poetry all her own—both experimental and Southern, implicit in its lyrical utterance and yet grounded in an inherent sense of the unutterable.
For a biography of the poet C. D. Wright please visit the Poetry Foundation Web site.
This poem begins with a family on an ordinary summer day. Is the woman reading a book, or is she “just staring/at what is written?” Is the man wearing a shirt; is the boy asleep? There is no metaphoric language in the opening stanzas, only very direct questions. But in the next stanza, a jolting question appears: “Did you honestly believe/three lives could be complete?” Time seems to stop.
Perhaps the poet is asking whether we believe we can ever really know each other or comprehend reality. We are so used to glancing at someone or something, taking in basic data and drawing conclusions, that when we suddenly see things differently and question our own perception, we get a feeling of incompleteness, of mystery, and hidden reality.
As the family gathers together on the floor, feeling the warmth and quiet and flow of a summer night, reality is contained not in truths or any perception aside from the “painfully beautiful” love they share.
Read a biography of the poet C. D. Wright at the Poetry Foundation Web site.
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