C. D. Wright in 2004. Photograph by Stew Milne.
C.D. Wright—she was a force. I felt her force as soon as my future husband at the time gave me a copy of Cooling Time (Copper Canyon Press, 2005) and later allowed me to carefully hold his copy of One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana (Twin Palms, 2003), her collaborative book with photographer Deborah Luster. I met C.D. in person for the first time, two years ago, on my birthday, when Joyelle McSweeney, Forrest Gander, Valerie Mejer Caso, Niina Pollari, and I read our translations at the Red Jewel Box in Seattle. Did you know C.D. was a fierce reader and supporter of translation? Did you know she edited and co-translated Rain of the Future (Action Books, 2014) by Valerie Mejer Caso? C.D. was a seer of ghosts. Valerie’s poetry is populated by immigrant, family ghosts, their trails of loss, wound, and violence. That night C.D. playfully demanded that I tell her and Forrest my life story. I told her the story of darkness, the departing, my father filming wars. When I saw C.D. again a few months later in San Francisco, she introduced me to her close friend and said, “Her father filmed the fucking-carpet-bombing in Cambodia.” Along the hiking trails at Squaw Valley, which reminded me of the mountains in Korea, we talked about the word Yankee and inter-lingual punning. I used to think that the first syllable in the Korean word for American whore—yanggalbo—and the first syllable of Yankee, were the same word. Politically, painfully, they are. C.D. got it. She was also a seer of wounds.