Skip to main content

James Wright

James Wright’s book The Branch Will Not Break (Wesleyan, 1963) was one of the most important collections of American poetry of the mid-twentieth century. He received the Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems in 1973. In 2005, twenty-five years after Wright’s death, A Wild Perfection: The Selected Letters of James Wright, edited by his widow, Anne Wright, and Saundra Maley, with Jonathan Blunk, was published by FSG. Another selection of letters from that collection has appeared in the New England Review.


Robert Bly and James Wright: A Correspondence

Winter 2005 | Essays

For as long as I can remember I've been hearing the story: that James Wright, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, had nearly given up writing early in his career. What saved him? An unexpected copy of a new magazine called The Fifties and the ensuing correspondence with its young poet-editor Robert Bly. The correspondence bloomed into a friendship, and Wright's best and most famous poems were written at Bly's farm in Madison, Minnesota. As I say, I've been hearing this for as long as I can remember. But without a biography or a volume of Wright's letters to confirm the story, it always remained in the realm of rumor.