Customer Reviews for

Walking to Martha's Vineyard

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2007

    Lovely Poetry

    In the book of poems titled Walking to Martha¿s Vineyard, Franz Wright will surely ponder reader¿s minds everywhere. There is a constant theme involving spirituality throughout his poems. Often you will find his poetry calling out to a higher power or demanding faith through fear. He provides a sense of something that is hidden to the outside world that only he will ever fully understand. He keeps secrets from his audience. The spirituality woven throughout this collection of poems can be compared to Rainer Maria Rilke¿s poetry, although it is not as heavily demanding in the spiritual sense. Wright¿s actual prose can better be compared to Some Thing Black by Jacques Roubaud. Franz Wright was born in Vienna in 1953, and grew up mostly in California. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Walking to Martha¿s Vineyard and was a also finalist for his work titled The Beforelife. He currently lives in Waltham, Massachusetts with his wife Elizabeth and works for the Center for Grieving Children and Teenagers. His poems are all connected in an orderly fashion that slowly moves the poetry forward with a subtle taste of satisfaction. There is no set form to his free verse and he uses punctuation for a reason, never taking it lightly. In his poem ¿Fathers,¿ Wright beautifully discusses and compares his own father and a higher power, or a heavenly father. He calls out to the creator of the stars to create a new heart in him. I believe the most beautiful stanza in the poem is right after this when he writes, ¿Homeless in Manhattan, the winter of your dying.¿ It flows so beautifully on the page. There is a constant sense of wanting to belong and to be loved. The last line reads, ¿and how often I walked to the edge of the actual river to join you.¿ It is so wonderful because it is so real. It is not known to whom he is calling out to. It could be his real father that passed away when he was a child, or the Heavenly Father. It could be both. His poem titled ¿June Storm¿ speaks about a sad journey through life ¿ always living with a question and never knowing any answers. He always ends his poems with a very solid statement that ties the entire poem together, but at the same time leaves the mind to wonder. In ¿June Storm¿ specifically he talks about how as a child and now as an adult he does not know the names of trees or birds or leaves. There is a sense of realization that comes with age and is also despised. He ends the poem in three lines saying, ¿I felt this as a child, and now I know it.¿ When reading this work of art, it is best to read it from beginning to end in order to obtain connections and meanings in their entirety. While one poem can inspire you, all of the poems can change you. Wright¿s poetry should be read by everyone, religious or not, because there is no damnation, only captivating secrets and questions among the pages.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2005

    In the footsteps of Rilke

    Though Franz Wright's style is more laconic that Rainer Maria Rilke's, the poet's struggle to understand life and death questions in a universe which does not readily yield pat answers is central to the work of both poets, especially the spiritual yearning in the face of existential issues -- abandonment, psychic pain, inability to resolve personal, emotional problems; though where Rilke finds transcendence through struggle, Wright finds deliverance in struggle. For years Wright has been an able translator of Rilke, and in a career than spans 30 years, Wright's work has stylistically remained near where it began: tight phrasing, disjunctive syntax, uneven lines, surprising line-breaks; but in such terseness, he has mastered the use of white space to powerfully frame a word or phrase. The strength of this book, by far Wright's best, and emotionally as candid as anything his father, the American poet James Wright wrote, (echoes of the world's tortured beauty) is as in The Beforelife, Franz Wright's previous collection, a brutal honesty in confronting his life as a poet-citizen in the minimalistic world he inhabits, formerly constricted as much by substance abuse, his wounded soul and sense of alienation -- that his groping toward spiritual truth (as he envisions it) is a welcome glimmer of what may follow. Kudos for the Pulitzer, but perhaps more so for the poet surviving his personal torments for as long as he has.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2010

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    Posted January 1, 2011

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