Friday, May 29, 2015

Poem for the Weekend: Franz Wright


Franz Wright and his father, the poet James Wright, are the only father-child combination to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His father won in 1972 and Franz in 2004 with his collection, Walking to Martha's Vineyard. Born in Vienna, Austria, Wright grew up in the Northwest, the Midwest and California. In addition to the Pulitzer, he received a Whiting Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Wright had problems with substance abuse and depression throughout his life. He died on May 14th at the age of 62. His obituary can be found here. The following poem is from his Pulitzer-winning collection.

On Earth

by Franz Wright (1953-2015)

     Resurrection of the little apple tree outside

     my window, leaf-
light of late
in the April
called her eyes, forget
but how
How does one go
about dying?
Who on earth
is going to teach me—
The world

is filled with people
who have never died


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"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka