Monday, January 17, 2011

Franz Wright

Franz Wright was fortunate enough to have been born the son of poet James Wright — which opened doors for him into the literary world. When Franz won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for his collection Walking To Martha’s Vineyard — proving his own worth — it was the first time a father and son had ever both received that honour.

Franz Wright was unfortunate enough to have been born the son of poet James Wright. His father’s absence in his life has left a void that keeps making its presence known in Franz’s poetry. Besides poetry, father and son have shared their alcoholism, dysfunctional behaviour and mental health issues. The search for father may be significant in his eventual search for Father and his conversion to Christianity.

In my review of Walking To Martha’s Vineyard in Rock & Sling, I described his book as,
--------“a moving collection of fragments that seem as though
--------they have been recovered from the early 21st century, a
--------series of peripheral glimpses into the centre of a reclaimed
--------soul, an abstract testimony to the healing power of Christ
--------in a landscape dominated by moonlight and snow — and
--------within dark, lonely churches that hold significance in their
--------silent spaces.”

Since winning the Pulitzer Prize, Franz Wright has had two subsequent collections published: God’s Silence (2006) and Wheeling Motel (2009).

Cloudless Snowfall

Great big flakes like white ashes
at nightfall descending
abruptly everywhere
and vanishing
in this hand like the host
on somebody's put-out tongue, she
turns the crucifix over
to me, still warm
from her touch two years later
and thank you,
I say all alone—
Vast whisp-whisp of wingbeats
awakens me and I look up
at a minute-long string of black geese
following low past the moon the white
course of the snow-covered river and
by the way thank You for
keeping Your face hidden, I
can hardly bear the beauty of this world.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: www.dsmartin.ca