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In the Western tradition, the epic genre establishes and reproduces national identity by connecting a glorious, mythic past with an audience's present. In Rising, Falling, Hovering, the poet C.D. Wright revises the epic tradition by tracing a national character from the sixteenth century destruction of Tenochtitlan to the twenty-first century invasion of Baghdad. In telling the story of American history from the perspective of its borders and war zones, Wright recasts the ordinary citizen as the epic hero connected to global dynamics through everyday actions. While poetry cannot dismantle walls, it can at lest help us understand our history (and future) beyond these boundaries established by the state. 

Annie Bolotin
PhD Candidate, English Language and Literature
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor