Franz Wright’s collections of poetry include The Beforelife (2001), God’s Silence (2006), and Walking to Martha’s Vineyard, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. He has received a Whiting Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts for his poetry. Wright has translated poetry by Rainer Maria Rilke and Rene Char; in 2008 he and his wife, Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright, co-translated a collection by the Belarusian poet Valzhyna Mort, Factory of Tears.
In his precisely crafted, lyrical poems, Wright addresses the subjects of isolation, illness, spirituality, and gratitude. Of his work, he has commented, “I think ideally, I would like, in a poem, to operate by way of suggestion.” Langdon Hammer, in the New York Times Book Review, wrote of God’s Silence: “In his best poems, Wright grasps at the ‘radiantly obvious thing’ in short-lined short lyrics that turn and twist down the page. The urgency and calculated unsteadiness of the utterances, with their abrupt shifts of direction, jump-cuts and quips, mime the wounded openness of a speaker struggling to find faith.”
Franz Wright’s father was the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet James Wright. He has taught at Emerson College and other universities, has worked in mental health clinics, and has volunteered at a center for grieving children.
Poems By FRANZ WRIGHT
Audio & PodcastsThe Poetry Magazine Podcast
Why Can’t Lust be Love?
Poems from Jennifer Chang, Mark Strand, Jill Alexander Essbaum, and Franz Wright; plus reflections on memorizing poetry by Madeleine Avirov.