Charles Wright was born in Pickwick Dam, Tennessee, in 1935. He was educated at Davidson College and, after four years in the United States Army, attended the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, where he received his M.F.A. He served as a Fulbright Lecturer at the University of Iowa, Princeton University, Columbia University, and the University of California at Irvine.
Mr. Wright’s previous books of poetry include The Grave of the Right Hand (1973), Hard Freight (1973), Bloodlines (1975), China Trace (1977), The Southern Cross (1981), Country Music: Selected Early Poems (1982), The Other Side of the River (1984), Zone Journals (1988), The World of the Ten Thousand Things: Poems 1980–1990 (1990), Chickamauga (1995), Black Zodiac (1997), which received the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, Appalachia (1998), Negative Blue (2000), The Short History of the Shadow (2002), Buffalo Yoga (2004), and Scar Tissue (2006).
Mr. Wright has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant (1974), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1975), the Academy of American Poets’ Edgar Allan Poe Award (1976), an Academy Institute grant from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1977), the National Book Award in Poetry (1983), and the Brandeis Creative Arts Citation for Poetry (1987). Mr. Wright has also been awarded the PEN Translation Prize for his translation of the Italian poet Eugenio Montale’s The Storm and Other Things, as well as the Academy of American Poets’ Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize (1996) for Chickamauga.
Mr. Wright is a professor of English at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, where he lives with his family.