The Dramatic Radiance of Number: Selected Plays of Jay Wright, Volume One
Jay Wright is a poet’s poet; identified by poet Dante Micheaux as one of the best American poets—because “his poetry represents everything that America is and not what he would like it to be.” These volumes of Wright’s selected plays offers readers, performers, theatre makers, and scholars an expansive look into an under-explored area of the poet’s body of work, spanning over four decades, from the early 1970’s to 2015. Those who know Wright’s poetry will find familiar rhythms and figures. New to the scene, however, is the mobilization of polysemy, quantum entanglement, and global-American identities within theatrical form. Arriving amid a pandemic, however, when the face of theatre has been forced to change in order to comport itself to new restrictions on liveness, these texts seem to challenge us to find other ways to perform, to tell stories, to grow together. Moving between Vermont, the Sandia Mountains, unnamed rivers, San Pedro, an urban square, Boca Negra, Mesa City, and numerous liminal spaces of ritual and incantation, these plays, selected by Jay and Lois Wright, showcase quotidian terrestrial affairs spliced with spiritual ascendency. Those who pick up these plays will find themselves involved in everything.
Order volume one and pre-order volume two now.
Jay Wright was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1934 and currently lives in Vermont. Wright was a professional baseball player, a member of the U.S. Army medical corps, a jazz bassist, and has been a visiting professor of literature at many universities. Active during the Black Arts Movement and the New American Poetry, his first poetry collection was published in 1967 and he has since published over fifteen books of poetry—including Thirteen Quintets for Lois (2021), Music’s Mask and Measure (2007), The Guide Signs: Book One and Book Two (2007), Transfigurations: Collected Poems (2000), Elaine’s Book (1988), The Double Invention of Komo (1980), and The Homecoming Singer (1971). He is also the author of more than forty plays and a dozen essays. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Wright’s honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award for Poetry, a MacArthur Fellowship, the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, a Joseph Compton Creative Writing Fellowship (Dundee University), the Hodder Fellowship (Princeton University), and The American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.
Selected Plays of Jay Wright, a two volume set published in Chicago by Kenning Editions and Every house has a door / Project Editor: Will Daddario / Cover design by Crisis Studio / Interior composition by Cory Rockliff
August 30.2022 The Dramatic Radiance of Number: Selected Plays of Jay Wright, Volume One
ISBN: 978-1-7343176-8-8 / Library of Congress Control Number: 2021949778 / 376 pp. / $20.00
In Volume One: Passage, The Hunt and Double Night of the Wood, The Playing Space, Lemma, Syntax, Aria.
October 25.2022 Figurations and Dedications: Selected Plays of Jay Wright, Volume Two
ISBN: 978-1-7343176-9-5 / Library of Congress Control Number: 2021950378 / 464 pp. / $20.00
In Volume Two: The Crossing, Daughters of the Water, Homage to Anthony Braxton, The Crossing of the Second River, The Delights of Memory, The Disappearance of Mexico, The Possible Impossibility of Leaving Home.
Forthcoming in 2023: Glimmerings and Constellations: Creative and Critical Responses to the Plays of Jay Wright, edited by Will Daddario.
Recent titles from Kenning Editions include Tomatoes + Why doesn’t the far left read literature? by Nathalie Quintane, translated by Marty Hiatt, foreword by Juliana Spahr; The Science of Departures by Adalber Salas Hernandez, translated by Robin Myers; Hieroglyphs of the Inverted World by Rob Halpern; título/title by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias, translated by Katherine Hedeen; and Festivals of Patience: The Verse Poems of Arthur Rimbaud, translated by Brian Kim Stefans. And enjoy some virtual readings organized by the press here.