is a terrific book by a terrific poet. Never has any poet,
anywhere, been so dark-minded and at the same time so almost
playful, so childlike about it all. A unique and major
Franz Wright was already recognized as one of the leading
poets of his generation before he won the 2004 Pulitzer
Prize. His voice and sensibility are distinctive,
and the places
many writers are able or willing to venture. The dark
world of his poems, which face many of the hardest truths
we must learn to live with, is lit by humor, tenderness,
compassion, and honesty. For this edition, the poet has
selected from the best of his previous collections, in
some cases making substantial revisions, and has added
his newest poems. The resulting collection is exciting
in its breadth, consistency, depth, and distinction.
She stepped out of a doorway on 86th Street
startling me badly, and softly spoke
a word that might have been my name--
a pretty fourteen-year-old maybe, in black denim
jacket and skirt not designed with your midwinter
night wind chill factor in mind;
one who somewhat resembled a very tall child
who'd botched her first secret attempt
at trying on her mother's make-up.
I felt nothing now but a dismal desire
to talk, maybe offer to take her
someplace to purchase a coat like an idiot.
But finally I did
what lots of normal men would do,
given the chance.
I started walking, fast, and turned my back on
Copyright c 1999 by Oberlin College. May not be
reproduced without permission.