This year’s Pulitzer Prizes included at least one with an Arkansas connection — the prize in poetry awarded to Forrest Gander for his book, “Be With.”
Gander is the widower of C.D. Wright, a MacArthur “genius grant” poet. Wright was an Arkansas native who died in 2016 and her work often reflected her Arkansas roots.
Gander’s winning book is described as, “A collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.” The New York Times observed today:
The poems in Forrest Gander’s latest collection deal with, among other things, grief. His wife, the acclaimed poet C. D. Wright, died suddenly in 2016 at 67. “I didn’t write for almost two years,” Gander, 63, said of the period after her death. “We were always great readers of each other’s work.” When he started writing again, the poems “just came out,” requiring less revising than usual. He was glad readers felt, as he did, that “writing about the darkness might be transformative.”