James Wright's work is typified by a humanitarian tenderness, compassion, and a keen sense of man's alienation. He wrote of his efforts: "I have written about the things I am deeply concerned with---crickets outside my window, cold and hungry old men . . . a feeling of desolation in the fall, some cities I have known." His work presents an unusual vision of middle America: the decayed and yet beautiful landscapes of train yards, bars, and red-light districts in Minneapolis. Stylistically, Wright moved from a traditional rhymed and metered verse, drawing on the techniques of the now classic modernists---Robinson, Masters, Frost, and even Thomas Hardy---to experimentalism in form and language. His later poems exhibit a certain delicacy, yet retain the colloquial sense of the native American idiom. Born in Martin's Ferry, Ohio, Wright attended Kenyon College and the University of Washington. Recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Vienna, he was awarded a National Institute of Arts and Letters grant, a Guggenheim grant, the Oscar Blumenthal Award, and a Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems in 1972.