Charles Wyatt is a musician who has been transformed into a writer. A graduate of the Curtis Institute if Music in Philadelphia, he played with various orchestras, including the US Marine Band, and then became principal flutist for the Nashville Symphony, a position he held for 25 years altogether. Along the way, he also began writing poems and stories, frequently using his music background. He earned an MFA degree at Warren Wilson College and published his first collection of short fiction shortly thereafter. The transformation became complete when he left the orchestra and began teaching writing and literature at, among others, Oberlin College, Purdue University and Denison University. Nashville remains his home between teaching assignments.
Goldberg-Variations is his first collection of poetry. The title sequence is written from the point of view of a musical composition, perhaps listening to itself.
Praise for Rembrandt’s Nose
Charles Wyatt’s wonderful poems are constructed around the bankruptcy inventory of 1656 that caused the Old Master to sell off his paintings and household possessions – and what possessions! Not only did he own a kings’ ransom of his own works and those of his contemporaries, but a museum of exotic weapons, clothing and artifacts brought to Amsterdam from around the world. Wyatt leads the reader through Rembrandt’s fascinating possessions as well as his fabulous body of work, poem by elegant poem, year by year, until the whole arc of Rembrandt’s life is displayed in lucid, imagistic poems. This book is the ultimate in ekphrasis – art described by art: Rembrandt’s world of painting, by Wyatt’s art of poetry, and the beautiful book artistry of Ex Ophidia Press. Not only will you love these poems, but you will see Rembrandt – and his ever-present nose – in a new light, as the visionary who could look at a rat-catcher, a hat, or a moment in the life of Christ with equal penetration. Charles Wyatt’s deft pen is as precise and evocative as his subject’s brush – a marvelous and unforgettable pairing.
– Sharon Cumberland, author of Strange with Age
FLY-FISHER, WORD-HOUND, WIT and storyteller,
Charles Wyatt is most of all a poet with musical skills
abounding. . . . Goldberg–Variations is a virtuosity of
verse. —DAVID BAKER
SUCH DELIGHT, TO SPEND AN AFTERNOON jiggering
around in Charles Wyatt’s Goldberg–Variations, within
which we readers are transported to so many elsewheres,
each with its own lingo, its lush vocabulary.
GOLDBERG–VARIATIONS IS A BOOK OF MARVELS.
WALTER PATER’S FAMOUS MAXIM THAT ALL ART
aspires to the condition of music is given rapturous
embodiment in Charles Wyatt’s Goldberg–Variations.
Ekphrastic poetry might be enjoying a surprising
renaissance but Wyatt is the inheritor of an even rarer
practice, call it auresis, or aural mimesis, that is poetry
which imitates the pitch, rhythm and dynamics of
music. Listen closely, for enthralling the ear and stimulating
the mind, Goldberg–Variations is a major concerto
of a book, demonstrating the proximity of our
art forms and the sheer universe of delight they can
provoke within us.
—RAVI SHANKAR, 2014 CONTEST JUDGE
Swan of Tuonela
In his third book of fiction, Wyatt, a musician turned writer, seems to be answering the question, what happened to the hippies? Or, perhaps, what happened to the artisans who remained artists when hippie values got switched off? Wyatt's protagonist, James, also a musician turned writer, is revealed in a subtle layering of stylistic prose as Wyatt recalls posthippie Philadelphia and conjures up complex characters, interweaving story lines, and dreamlike remembrances that would make surrealists and psychedelics alike smile with glee. James' sexual and artistic adventures are rooted in the universal question of what it means to be human, and in dissecting and celebrating the artist's lifestyle. A delicately fashioned collection of short stories about the same key character, a la Raymond Carver, Stuart Dybek, or Billy Lombardo, Wyatt's Swan of Tuonela is artful, insightful, and wonderfully atmospheric. Mark Eleveld
Listening to Mozart
"In Listening to Mozart, Charles Wyatt displays a poignant, compassionate sense of the small and large; he looks both ways, down into the meticulous details of a musician's humble labor and up into the broad, stirring inexplicable expanse of his life." Ethan Canin
The new edition of Listening to Mozart is now available from Morris Books.
Both editions are searchable on Amazon or you can go directly to Carolina Wren Press and click on fiction. I'll provide a cover image and link when my son shows me how.
Winner of the 2001 Clay Reynolds Novella Prize
Falling Stones: The Spirit Autobiography of S.M. Jones
Falling Stones is a compelling tale of the quest for spiritual meaning in early 19th Century rural America. Sylvester Marion Jones, born in 1836, inhabits a guilt-laden Protestant domain, saturated with ominous signs and wonders. His childhood is marked first by demonic visions and later by his young brother's mysterious disappearance, for which his father blames him. Grown up, Sylvester is drawn into marriage with a young woman suspected of witchcraft. Still a seeker of light, he finally achieves the purgation of his house - at the savage cost of acknowledging the demon in himself.
MYOMANCY, is insightful, witty, surprising and wise. We are lucky to have Charles Wyatt, and his clever poetry. ~Leah Maines, author of Beyond the River
Charles Wyatt is the author of two collections of short stories and a novella: Listening to Mozart, University of Iowa Press 1995, Falling Stones: the Spirit Autobiography of S.M. Jones, Texas Review Press 2002, and Swan of Tuonela, Hanging Loose Press, 2006. His poetry chapbook, A Girl Sleeping, won the 2006 Sow's Ear Poetry Review contest and was published in June 07. He served as principal flutist of the Nashville Symphony for more than 25 years. He teaches in the Low Residency MFA Program in Writing for the University of Nebraska and for the UCLA Extension Writing Program.
Angelicus ex Machina
FINISHING LINE PRESS Proudly Announces the Publication of ANGELICUS EX MACHINA by Charles Wyatt
These are angel poems, inspired by images dating from the Middle Ages, the Renaisance, and even contemporary kitsch. Most angels have wings and it's interesting to imagine how they might fly. I'm serious about angels, but not too serious.