Franz Wright

On Franz Wright
by J. Zimmerman

* Franz Wright. * F. * God's Silence. *Kindertotenwald. * Walking to Martha's Vineyard. * Wheeling Motel.
* Links. * Books.
* Franz Wright featured in The Best American Poetry: 2006, Editor Billy Collins.

Buy Walking to Martha's Vineyard, by Franz Wright.

Franz Wright

Franz Wright, author of over 16 poetry books and 5 books of translation (primarily of Rainer Maria Rilke), won the 2003 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize.

Walking to Martha's Vineyard won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

His first book was Tapping the White Cane of Solitude (l976).

Astonishingly, not till 2006, did his work appear in The Best American Poetry Series.

F / poems

F / poems was published in 2013.

Published in three section. The middle of the three is particularly remarkable, a long poem called "Entries of the Cell":

There are two infinities. Can't you see them?

Don't ask me how it works — one of star-sown space, and one of the words for it.

I only know it was like living twice.

[p. 29] Copyright © 2013 by Franz Wright.

The third and final section has shorter poems, some excellent including: "Learning How to Read":

If I had to look up every fifth or sixth word
so what. I looked them up.
I had nowhere important to be.

My father was unavailable, and my mother looked like she was about to break, and not into blossom, each time I spoke.

My favorite was The Iliad. True, I had trouble pronouncing the names; but when was I going to pronounce them, and

to whom? ...

... Life has taught me to understand books.

[p. 51-52] Copyright © 2013 by Franz Wright.

The concluding "Three Basho Haibun" [pp.76-78] seem over-optimistically named, there being so much more ego in Wright's poems than in Bashō's.

Kindertotenwald (2011)

Buy 'Kindertotenwald' Kindertotenwald (2011)

God's Silence

God's Silence was published in 2006.

This book is a mixed bag. Many poems seemingly attempt to romanticize Wright's battle with mental health and with God. They seem self-indulgent poems and often unsurprising.

However there are several astounding poems, particularly:

Acknowledges first publications in:

Walking to Martha's Vineyard

Walking to Martha's Vineyard is published in 2003.

This book is a blessing of amazing poems -- poems that met Emily Dickinson's test, for they take off the top of my head. This book is the deserving winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.


The book has 53 poems. They are not grouped into sections. The title of the penultimate poem is used as the title of the book.

Wheeling Motel (2009)

Buy 'Wheeling Motel' (2009) Wheeling Motel (2009)

Time Line

Born in Vienna, Austria.
Graduated from Oberline College with a B.A.
Poetry book: The Before Life.
Poetry book: Walking to Martha's Vineyard.
Pulitzer Prize for: Walking to Martha's Vineyard.
Poetry book: God's Silence.
Publication of Wheeling Motel.
Publication of Kindertotenwald.
Publication of Buson: Haiku, a collection of translations of thirty haiku by the Japanese poet Yosa Buson.
Publication of verse and prose poems: F.
Recorded fifteen prose poems from Kindertotenwald.
Died (cancer).



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