by James Wright
A Blessing Resources
This website provides a great introduction to James Wright and his poems. It includes a brief bio, bibliography, links to a nice sampler of his poems, and audio files of the poet reading some of his poems aloud.
Here's another good website about Wright. It includes links to 50 of his poems.
Here's yet another great clearinghouse of information on Wright's life and work.
Check out this video of an "Indian Pony" with markings similar to those described in "A Blessing."
In this video, the two horses look like good buddies, and they look happy to be in the pasture. Notice that the pasture is located next to a road, like the pasture in "A Blessing" (split-rail fence instead of barbed wire, though).
Remember that line in "A Blessing" about the ponies bowing "shyly as wet swans"? This video of the courting ritual of two swans shows why we tend to associate swans with romantic love (their heads and necks really do form a valentine shape!). Stevie Nicks fans will enjoy the soundtrack.
This is not the strongest reading, but it's an interesting mash-up of "A Blessing" and the Viggo Mortenson film.
Listen to the poet's reading of "A Blessing." Do his inflections or tone of voice influence your interpretation of the poem?
This website includes audio files of the poet reading aloud his and others' poems.
He looked tough when he was younger.
Here he's rockin' the bearded look.
Here's the cover image of a new edition of the book of poetry in which "A Blessing" was originally published.
This is the cover image of Wright's collected poems, published in 1992. It includes poems published from 1957 through 1977.
Articles and Interviews
Make sure to check out this wonderful interview with Wright published in The Paris Review in 1975. It's full of juicy tidbits and thought-provoking reflections.
This article offers some intriguing commentary about the style and themes of Wright's poems.
During this interview with a writer for The Seattle Times, Wright states, "I don't believe in God. He hurts too much."
In this interview published by the University of Washington Daily, Wright reflects on the intersection "between time and eternity" and muses on the difference between "making love to someone and with someone." He also describes his reaction to winning the Pulitzer Prize ("frightened").
This website gathers several articles about Wright and his poetry, including Robert Bly's description of the circumstances surrounding Wright's composition of "A Blessing."
This is the book of poetry in which "A Blessing" was originally published in 1963. The link below describes a new edition of the book published in 1992.
If you're curious about how "A Blessing" fits in the larger context of Wright's work, check out a copy of this book, which collects all of his poems, published from 1957 through 1977. (Notice how frequently horses are mentioned!)
This book was not written by James Wright; it's a collection of poetry by poet Donald Hall. Included in this volume is another memorable poem about horses, called "Names of Horses" (you can read the poem online here). Make sure to have a hanky handy, because the poem is a real tearjerker.