Poetry News

Anis Shivani on Franz Wright's F

By Harriet Staff


At the HuffPo today, Anis Shivani names his best of 2013. And in the poetry category, that honor goes to Franz Wright for his 2013 collection F. Not only is F crowned best of this year, Shivani makes the claim that Wright's book maybe be the book of our times.

F is the culmination of Franz Wright's life work, arguably the greatest book of poetry by an American since Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath's heyday. I could make the case that this book will outlast nearly everything else being published in American poetry these days, and will emerge as the standout book of the era when all is said and done. Wright deals here with mortality in a direct and sincere manner few other poets today can match. After reading Wright, the faux hysteria of most contemporary poets when it comes to grief, mourning, and allied emotions appears almost juvenile by comparison, whereas every word in Wright's poems is fully earned, leaving no doubt about the poet's reservoirs of courage and honesty. This, at last, is the answer to what comes after the alleged end of lyric poetry: not the gamesmanship of conceptual poetry and associated mannerisms, but a lyric poetry so illuminating and forthright that it turns the whole tradition of the last 100 years--say, since Rilke--on its head. Nobody but nobody deals with death like Wright. He is our greatest contemporary poet.

Make the jump to see who Shivani picks for the fiction and nonfiction categories.

Originally Published: November 15th, 2013