Walking to Martha's Vineyard

Walking to Martha's Vineyard

4.2 4
by Franz Wright
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In this radiant new collection, Franz Wright shares his regard for life in all its forms and his belief in the promise of blessing and renewal. As he watches the “Resurrection of the little apple tree outside / my window,” he shakes off his fear of mortality, concluding “what death . . . There is only / mine / or yours,– / but the world / will…  See more details below

Overview

In this radiant new collection, Franz Wright shares his regard for life in all its forms and his belief in the promise of blessing and renewal. As he watches the “Resurrection of the little apple tree outside / my window,” he shakes off his fear of mortality, concluding “what death . . . There is only / mine / or yours,– / but the world / will be filled with the living.” In prayerlike poems he invokes the one “who spoke the world / into being” and celebrates a dazzling universe–snowflakes descending at nightfall, the intense yellow petals of the September sunflower, the planet adrift in a blizzard of stars, the simple mystery of loving other people. As Wright overcomes a natural tendency toward loneliness and isolation, he gives voice to his hope for “the only animal that commits suicide,” and, to our deep pleasure, he arrives at a place of gratitude that is grounded in the earth and its moods.


From the Hardcover edition.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
...Wright's poems work immediately, electrically, or they do not work at all: repeated rereadings produce neither hidden depths nor secret structures -- nor do they make the poems seem less sincere. Wright offers a very restricted range of experience -- all extremes, all the time -- and a restricted style to match; within it, though, he can discover a spiritual yearning, and a visceral power, which few poets now working can match. — Stephen Burt
Publishers Weekly
Terse and consistent, Wright's 15th book (and second from Knopf) returns to the haunted territory of The Beforelife (2001) with a wider range of formal tools. Heartfelt but often cryptic poems, split into short, sometimes even single-line stanzas, explore the poet's troubled romantic life, his self-destructive past, his attraction to a Christian God and his difficult memories of his father-influential American poet James Wright (1927-1980). The younger Wright can deliver a lucid analogy in a single line ("We were/ about as useful as a hammer and nail made of gold"), or stop short in epistemological doubt: "The seeing see only this world." Some poems address James Wright directly ("At ten/ I turned you into a religion"); others take up, laconically and often powerfully, a history of substance abuse and mental illness: "Risperdal whisperdoll// all alone in the dark/ garden." "Letter" bluntly ties the speaker's Christian seeking to his sense of human loneliness: "I keep my eyes fixed on the great naked corpse, the vertical corpse/ who is said to be love/ and who spoke the world/ into being before coming here/ to be tortured and executed by it." Wright's work relies on the force of affect and personality, more than on any particular formal choice; his use of fragments can recall Jean Valentine or Donald Revell, while his psychological probing can call to mind Frank Bidart. His best work may be his least typical, as in the rhyming "Auto-Lullaby," but fans will find Wright's self-diagnostics moving throughout. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307548894
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/12/2009
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
96
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

"Walking to Martha’s Vineyard"

And the ocean smells like lilacs in late August–how
is that.

The light there muted (silver) as remembered light.

Do you have any children?

No, lucky for them.

Bad things happen when you get hands, dolphin.

Can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing?

There is no down or up in space or in the womb.

If they’d stabbed me to death on the day I was born, it
would have been an act of mercy.

Like the light the last room, the windowless room at the
end, must look out on. Gold-tinged, blue

vapor trail breaking up now like the white line you see,
after driving all day, when your eyes close;

vapor trail breaking up now between huge clouds resembling
a kind of Mt. Rushmore of your parents’ faces.

And these untraveled windy back roads here–cotton
leaves blowing past me, in the long blue
horizontal light–

if I am on an island, how is it they go on forever.

This sky like an infinite tenderness, I have caught
glimpses of that, often, so often, and never yet have
I described it, I can’t, somehow, I never will.

How is it that I didn’t spend my whole life being happy, loving
other human beings’ faces.

And wave after wave, the ocean smells like lilacs in
late August.


From the Hardcover edition.

Meet the Author

Franz Wright was born in Vienna in 1953 and grew up in the Northwest, the Midwest, and Northern California. His most recent works include The Beforelife (which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize) and Ill Lit: Selected & New Poems. He has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Fellowship, and the PEN/Voelcker Prize, among other honors. He works at the Edinburg Center for Mental Health and the Center for Grieving Children and Teenagers and lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, with his wife, Elizabeth.


From the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >