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THIS DREAM THE WORLD: New & Selected Poems  
  Carolyne Wright

ISBN 978-0-9981963-2-9     $24  /  $28 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

266 pp      
PUB DATE: SEPT 2017       Featured Poetry


This Dream the World: New & Selected Poems brings together the most powerful and resonant poems of Carolyne Wright’s books and chapbooks to date—from the lyrical mapping of inner life and the human nexus in Stealing the Children (1978); to poems of witness set in Allende’s Chile and in Brasil under military dictatorship in Seasons of Mangoes and Brainfire (2005); to the adventures of an audacious, bodacious, ‘gregarious loner’ alter-ego featured in Mania Klepto: The Book of Eulene (2011); to the new poems of “Mute Sister,” a sequence.


Carolyne Wright’s poems connect the personal and political and walk the difficult edge of poetic lyricism and social engagement. They are poems that search for “a language between us” in which personal loss becomes a metaphor for an injured and debilitating world where political violence and conflict keep us from fulfilling ourselves in meaningful ways. For her, our lives are often drifting and “unfinished” in this world of divisions. Yet while she refuses to pretend that lives of great suffering and sorrow don’t exist and aren’t costly, she often enacts those complex, particular moments when the oversimplifications of political ideologies run up against the strange power of our individual lives.

—Robert Cording


The language of Carolyne Wright’s poems is as rich, diverse, and bursting with life as the natural world of the coastal Northwest she calls home; but her home is the world, much of which she has traveled. Her poems engage that larger world and the lives of its citizens, their history, turmoil, and jeopardy. Hers is a poetry both of celebration and of sober courage.

—David Axelrod 


Like the first line in the title poem, the haunting poems in Carolyne Wright’s wide-ranging collection won’t let us go. Beginning with a new sequence of deeply moving elegies about her mute sister, whose presence was kept a secret, these poems grab hold, taking us back through the decades. But this isn’t a nostalgic journey; rather, Wright’s subjects range from Luna moths to César Vallejo. Deftly employing witty word play in a variety of forms—from acrostics to ghazals to pantoums—this collection interweaves voices and cultures, vividly showing “this dream the world” and reminding us of poetry’s role in bearing witness to what can’t, but must, be spoken.

—Holly J. Hughes


About the Author

Carolyne Wright

Carolyne Wright

Carolyne Wright’s ground- breaking anthology, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse Press, 2015), received ten Pushcart Prize nominations and was a finalist in Foreword Review’s Book of the Year Awards. She has nine earlier poetry volumes, five books of poetry in translation from Spanish and Bengali, and a collection of essays; and has received Fulbright, NEA, 4Culture, and Seattle Arts Commission fellowships. After returning to her native Seattle in 2005, Wright has taught for Richard Hugo House; for the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA Program; and for Antioch University Los Angeles MFA Program. She has been gaining fluency in Brazilian Portuguese in preparation for a return visit to Bahia on an Instituto Sacatar residency fellowship in 2018.


Graduate Student in the Food Stamp Office: 1976

Mind filled with rhymes, I fill out the forms.
Welfare mothers fidget in their chairs.
I wait hours. Sky gathers its storms
and files them like a caseworker’s papers.
No one calls my name. Outside, a tree
shakes leaves crisp as coupons at the first
of the month. I doze. Rain sheets the city.
Children whine, mimic what mom’s rehearsed.

The intercom blares: my Name! I leap up to meet
the eyes of a tired bureaucrat nodding No
at the end of her day. My means, she says, too great
to justify my ending up here. “Hon, you’ve got so
much—no kids, no debts, no record. The future?
Yours! Go for it! Get the hell outta here!
Don’t get trapped—like me.” Voice of my own mother
in hers, I stand: the whole of my life, so far. So near.

—Carolyne Wright, 2017