Ellen Wright grew up in suburban Boston in the 50s and 60s. Although she learned to read spontaneously at age three, spent her childhood steeped in children’s classics and studied high school English with the legendary Wilbury Crockett, she entered adulthood unable to signify in language. She, therefore, opted for a career in music. Her last several decades have been devoted to designing and directing music programs for churches and elementary schools in the greater New York area, accompanying musical theater and playing chamber music on harpsichord, piano and organ.
As language issues continued to trouble her, she turned first to graduate studies in comparative literature and then to poetry. Sharon Dolin’s poetry group in New York and several summers at Provincetown’s Fine Arts Work Center eventually enabled her to share aspects of her journey in writing. She has poems in such journals as New Ohio Review, RHINO, Fifth Wednesday, Paterson Literary Review, and Naugatuck River Review. In 2007, Main Street Rag published her chapbook, In Transit.
Family Portrait with Oilwell was written during the quarantine of 2020. While her musical colleagues were posting videos of their COVID chops, Wright was compiling a collection of poems full of memories, myths, fantasies and falsehoods associated with a putative oil well in which her maternal grandfather may or may not once have had an interest.
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (May 23, 2023)
“To a Pariah” won the Ellipsis Award, bestowed by Andrea Hollander, for 2014