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Poets Weave

From James Wright’s Book The Branch Will Not Break

The experimental, largely free verse poems in The Branch Will Not Break by James Wright shocked readers at the time and helped change American poetry.

james wright, bluejay on branch-edit

Photo: by Daniel James

Blue Jay springing on a branch..."for he knows, as well as I do, that the branch will not break." (from "Two Hangovers")

“I dream of your slow voice, flying,
Planting the dark waters of the spirit
With lutes and seeds.”

–James Wright

Born in 1927 in the factory town of Martins Ferry, Ohio, to working class parents, James Wright was already an important, well-respected poet of largely formal verse when, in 1963, came his third book, The Branch Will Not Break, published by Wesleyan University Press. The experimental, largely free verse poems in this volume, with their startling leaps of imagination and deep, haunted images, shocked readers at the time and helped change American poetry.

On this extended web edition of The Poets Weave, I read poems from The Branch Will Not Break by James Wright.  The poems include “Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio,” “Lying in a hammock…,” “In Ohio,” “The Jewel,” and “Two Hangovers.”

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