Cover image for Buffalo yoga
Buffalo yoga
Wright, Charles, 1935-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 76 pages ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3573.R52 B84 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The sun has set behind the Blue Ridge,
And evening with its blotting paper
lifts off the light.
Shadowy yards. Moon through the white pines
--"Landscape with Missing Overtones"

Never has Charles Wright's vision been more closely aligned with the work of the ancient Chinese painters and writers who inform his poetry than in his newest collection. Wright's short lyrics, in Charles Simic's words, "achieve a level of eloquence where the reader says to himself, if this is not wisdom, I don't know what is" ( The New York Review of Books ). The poems in Buffalo Yoga are pristine examples of the Tennessee poet's deft, painterly touch--"crows in a caterwaul" are "scored like black notes in the bare oak"--and his oblique, expansive, and profound interrogation of mortality, as in the title sequence, where the soul is "a rhythmical knot. / That form unties. Or reties."

Author Notes

Poet Charles Wright was born on August 25, 1935 in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee. He earned a B. A. at Davidson College and then entered the army. Upon his exit from the service, Wright earned a M. A. at the University of Iowa's Writer's Workshop.

Wright is currently a Souder Family Professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Wright won the Pulitzer Prize and The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for his work Black Zodiac. Wright has also received the National Book Award for Country Music: Selected Early Poems, and the PEN Translation Prize for The Storm and Other Poems. In addition to the above awards, Wright has also received the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit Medal and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Wright, one of the most honored of American poets, reflects on the most familiar of subjects--sun, moon, wind, clouds, trees--but, as he observes, it's never the same day twice. Indeed, his penetrating and ravishingly gorgeous lyrical poems are at once classically philosophical and freshly revealing. For Wright, the brimming natural world is holy, yet he anthropomorphizes nature with rampant inventiveness, intimacy, wit, and wonder. This meshing of the divine and the human is his meditation point and the source of his ongoing inquiry into life's grand interconnectivity and the nature of the soul. Buffalo Yoga, the title of this elegantly contemplative collection and of the long, enrapturing poem at its heart, evocatively names the union between nature and human consciousness. And as he marvels over everything from the great wheel of the seasons to flowers and fog, considers our notions of time and the afterlife, and remembers his past, Wright, a profoundly yogic poet, illuminates and exalts in the entire astonishing spectrum of existence. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Over more than 30 years, Wright's long-lined, even-paced, meditative verses have seemed at once resigned and sublime: frequent topics include Chinese painters and poets, Italian landscapes and America's upper South, especially the Blue Ridge mountains where he makes his Charlottesville home. After the ambitious suites of volumes like Black Zodiac and Chickamauga (which picked up a brace of awards, including a Pulitzer), Wright has settled into shorter, self-contained poems in most of this 17th book: "I write, as I said before, to untie myself, to stand clear," he writes in a Zen-like vein. The title poem (at 13 pages, by far the longest) wanders thoughtfully through landscape and memory before resolving into an elegy for a friend. As always, Wright sets his desire to believe in another world against his confidence that we can know only one: "Under our heads, the world is a long drop and an ache." Wright returns to his Southern heritage ("my own little Civil War," "a half-healed and hurting world") but concentrates more often, this time out, on artists and their lives: Kafka, Morandi, Ezra Pound, Mark Rothko and Thomas Chatterton all turn up. Wright's real subject, as always, is larger than it seems: though they may vary little from poem to poem, his extended, loping lines project a patient point of view that, like a kind of stretch that sometimes releases painful histories, continues to open space. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Li Shang-Yin
Landscape with Missing Overtonesp. 3
There Is a Balm in Gileadp. 4
Portrait of the Artistp. 6
Buffalo Yoga
Buffalo Yogap. 9
Buffalo Yoga Codas
Buffalo Yoga Coda Ip. 25
Buffalo Yoga Coda IIp. 28
Buffalo Yoga Coda IIIp. 31
Snake Eyes
The Gospel According to St. Someonep. 37
Homage to Mark Rothkop. 38
Portrait of the Artist in a Prospect of Stonep. 40
Rosso Venexianop. 43
Words Are the Diminution of All Thingsp. 45
Arrivederci Kingsportp. 46
January IIp. 49
Dio Ed Iop. 50
Nostalgia IIIp. 52
In Praise of Thomas Chattertonp. 53
Charles Wright and the 940 Locust Avenue Heraclitean Rhythm Bandp. 54
Saturday Afternoonp. 56
Wednesday Morningp. 58
Homage to Giorgio Morandip. 60
Little Apocalypsep. 62
Snake Eyesp. 63
My Own Little Civil Warp. 64
La Dolceamara Vitap. 67
Sun-Saddled, Coke-Copping, Bad-Boozing Bluesp. 68
Sinologyp. 70
Little Apokatastasisp. 73
Star Turn IIIp. 74
In Praise of Han Shanp. 76
Notesp. 77