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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.read more
Once more the Pulitzer Prize-winning Wright (God's Silence) delves into his own exceptionally troubled past and comes up with fractured and frightening-but also well-constructed and self-aware-poems about his former addictions, his inner depths and his recovery, giving thanks to his wife and to the Christian God. "I don't want to see a doctor/ I want to kill a doctor," one poem opens. "And this is my alone/ song, it isn't/ long." Wright's poetry of extremes has attracted both a wide audience and a sophisticated one: he speaks with terse authority about religious transcendence, crushing and even suicidal depression and well-known drug troubles-"Pretty soon you won't be doing that to get high./ You'll be doing it to get dressed." If this collection differs from earlier volumes, it is in the kind and degree of attention that Wright pays to his father, the poet James Wright: "There's this line in an unpublished poem of yours./ The river is like that,/ a blind familiar." Family matters, like much else, give Wright bleak grief: he turns, as he has often done in recent years, to religious faith, exploring his doubts but returning to his belief: "The world didn't give me this/ word, but// the world cannot take it away." (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved