Deepstep Come Shining
Author: C.D. Wright
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press (1998)
"Spy. Eye. Wright. Sight. A literary surveyor/surveiller following "just a hypothetical blind woman brought out of complete darkness" on a Southern road trip in search of healing and sight, C.D. Wright becomes her characters' eyes. . . Readers of Deepstep Come Shining will see rural Southern culture, snippets of local conversations, trips to "the boneman" and "the snakeman," but always through a narrator never quite there; a narrator almost inevitably speaking in fragments; a narrator who will rarely pass a page or two without some covert or overt reference to her own subjectivity as a reader of Agee, Bakhtin, and Wittgenstein, a viewer knowledgeable of the early filmic experiments of the Lumière Brothers and contemporary innovative "visual" art from the likes of Akira Kurosawa, Deborah Luster, and Howard Finster.
And it's this that I most respect and appreciate about Deepstep Come Shining: to me, it signals one of the rare publications where a writer simultaneously "goes native" and "stays home" (Zora Neale Hurston's work is a seminal early example in this style). Denying her ties to neither the eccentricities of the rural South (which I'm afraid too many reviewers will focus almost exclusively on) nor academic/institutional life (the author is, after all, a professor at Brown University, a Guggenheim and NEA fellow, and former State Poet of Rhode Island), Wright melds these disparate voices, these fragments of her own polysubjectivity, into one of the most unique volumes of investigative, observational poetics to have been published in a very long time."