This essay presents a close reading of C. D. Wright's Deepstep Come Shining. One of the great book-length poems published in America over the last few decades, this poem gathers the strengths of Wright's earlier books while at the same time inventing the sort of roving collage essential to her recent books of social witness, One Big Self, Rising, Falling, Hovering, and One with Others. Deepstep teaches us to read these more recent books of Wright's. It also teaches us, indirectly, to read again the larger Romantic and modernist traditions that Deepstep and these recent books reinflect. In this way it helps us to see the stakes of a collagist long poem in our time. The essay concludes by suggesting that Deepstep, while embracing the art of disjunction characteristic of contemporary culture, at the same time surpasses this art through an innovative practice of drawing connections.

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