Franz Wright
(USA, 1953)   
Franz Wright

Ceaseless blue lightning, this
love passing through me:
I know somehow it will go on
reaching you, reaching you
when I’m not in the way.

(from ‘Our Conversation’)

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 latest book, a collection of prose poems, is Kindertotenwald (2011). In an interview with Anis Shivani, Wright explains that the collection aims “to create models, in a sense, of the way I seem to think and perceive, which is far more associative and irrational than I could ever convey . . . unless I just cut loose with the intellectual music of the English language.”

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.

Franz Wright has taught at Emerson College and other universities, has worked in mental health clinics, and has volunteered at a centre for grieving children. His father was the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet James Wright.



Kindertotenwald, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 2011
Wheeling Motel, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 2009
Earlier Poems, Random House, New York, NY, 2007
God's Silence, Knopf, New York, NY, 2006
Walking to Martha's Vineyard, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 2003
The Beforelife, A.A. Knopf, New York, NY, 2001
ILL LIT: Selected & New Poems, Oberlin College Press, Oberlin, OH, 1998
Rorschach Test, Carnegie Mellon University Press, Pittsburgh, PA, 1995
The Night World and the Word Night, Carnegie Mellon University Press, Pittsburgh, PA, 1993
Entry in an Unknown Hand, Carnegie Mellon University Press, Pittsburgh, PA, 1989
Going North in Winter, Gray House Press, Cullman, AL, 1986
The One Whose Eyes Open When You Close Your Eyes, Pym-Randall Press, Cambridge, MA, 1982
The Earth Without You,
Cleveland State University Poetry Center, Cleveland, OH, 1980



Poetry magazine podcast: Why Can't Lust be Love? with poems from Jennifer Chang, Mark Strand, Jill Alexander Essbaum and Franz Wright


The Huffington Post interview with Anis Shivani: Exclusive Interview With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poet Franz Wright
The University of Arizona Poetry Center: An Interview with Franz Wright
NPR: Franz Wright, Poet and Muse: 2004 Pulitzer Winner Inspires New York Rock Band



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