DEEPSTEP COME SHINING by C.D. Wright

DEEPSTEP COME SHINING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This Arkansas-born Brown professor has written numerous books of verse and has also collaborated on multimedia exhibits about her native state, a type of experience that shows in this unusual verse novel, an unholy marriage of Kerouac's bop prosody and Flannery O'Connor's southern gothic sensibility. Stylistically, it also brings to mind Anne Carson's similarly collage-like verse novel, Autobiography of Red, though Wright draws not on classical literature, but on a wild mix of pop lyrics, down-home imagery, readings on optics, and just about anything that plunks into consciousness. Framed as a car ride through the South, Wright visits only places of iconic significance or sonorous glee, from Poetry, Georgia, to Hamlet, N.C. (birthplace of John Coltrane). Lots of sass-talk punctuates the journey (""Shit. I burned the shit out of my shit-eating tongue""), and typography provides at least some visual variation in this self-consciously cinematic narrative. As tough-talking as much of this is, Wright indulges in moments of pathos for AIDS victims and a child blinded by Agent Orange. Careful to establish her white-trash authenticity (""Trailer living was appealing when I was seventeen""), she too often gives in to Forrest Gump--like pearls of wisdom and lame bits of anarchic humor. Wright's unique voice is all rhythm, sometimes dizzying and delightful, and sometimes simply incoherent.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1998
ISBN: 155659092X
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Copper Canyon