In his tenth collection of poetry, Franz Wright gives us an exquisite book of reconciliation with the past and acceptance of what may come in the future. From his earliest years, he writes in "Will," he had "the gift of impermanence / so I would be ready, / accompanied / by a rage to prove them wrong / . . . and that I too was worthy of love." This rage comes coupled with the poet's own brand of love, what he calls "one / strange alone / heart's wish / to help all / hearts." Poetry is indeed Wright's help, and he delivers it to us with a wry sense of the daily in America: in his wonderfully local relationship to God (whom he encounters along with a catfish in the emerald shallows of Walden Pond); in the little West Virginia motel of the title poem, on the banks of the great Ohio River, where "Tammy Wynette's on the marquee" and he is visited by the figure of Walt Whitman, "examining the tear on a dead face." Here, in "Wheeling Motel, " Wright's poetry continues to surprise us with its frank appraisal of our soul, and with his own combustible loneliness and unstoppable joy.
About the Author
Born in Vienna, Franz Wright is the author of ten full-length collections of poetry. Walking to Martha's Vineyard (Knopf 2003) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. His collections Wheeling Motel, Earlier Poems, and God's Silence were published by Knopf in 2009, 2007, and 2006. Wright's other works include the recent chapbooks ENTRIES OF THE CELL (Marick Press, 2010), 7PROSE (Marick Press, 2010), LEAVE ME HIDDEN (Marick Press, 2010) and THE CATFISH (Marick Press, 2007), and the full-length collections The Beforelife (2001), Ill Lit: New and Selected Poems (1998), Rorschach Test (1995), The Night World and the Word Night (1993), and Midnight Postscript (1993). Mr. Wright has also translated poems by Rene Char, Erica Pedretti, and Rainer Maria Rilke. He has received the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, as well as grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wright has taught in many colleges and universities, including Emerson College and the University of Arkansas. He is currently the writer-in-residence at Brandeis. He has also worked in a mental health clinic in Lexington, Massachusetts, and as a volunteer at the Center for Grieving Children.
“These new poems refract the light of the poet’s insightful, humorous, and often humble gaze in ways that are surprising and rewarding.” —America
“Uningratiating, bumptiously witty . . . and routinely surprising.” —The New York Times Book Review