Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Franz Wright: A Poem and Interview

Click image to read interview (& poem)

Those of you who follow The Hut regularly know that Franz Wright is a personal fav of mine among contemporary poets. Here's a new poem by him, published recently in the New Yorker.

Learning To Read

If I had to look up every fifth or sixth word,

so what. I looked them up.

I had nowhere important to be.

My father was unavailable, and my mother

looked like she was about to break,

and not into blossom, every time I spoke.

My favorite was the Iliad. True,

I had trouble pronouncing the names,

but when was I going to pronounce them, and

to whom?

My stepfather maybe?

Number one, he could barely speak English;

two, he had sufficient intent

to smirk or knock me down

without any prompting from me.

Loneliness, boredom and terror

my motivation

fiercely fuelled.

I get down on my knees and thank God for them.

Du Fu, the Psalms, Whitman, Rilke.

Life has taught me

to understand books.

Franz Wright

And a short NPR segment on Wright, with him reading some poems. And some more poems. And, oh yeah, some more.

And a fine, insightful, sensitive piece on Franz Wright by Justin Marks entitled In My Father's House There Are Many Rooms.

'Nuff said.




Charles Gramlich said...

I liked this. Reminded me of how I learned a lot of vocabulary words growing up, like mistral, and misericorde that no one else around me knew and I was never sure how to pronounce them until years later.

Anonymous said...

Silence swaddles all sound, save, "Splendid!"


Anonymous said...

whenever I see/hear/use the word "mistral" I immediately think of Marisol (who yet lives near my friend in The City and is yet beautiful!

a friend once wrote:


well, he's now dead! the ultimate "silence"

there is also John Cage's SILENCE ( the book) to consider ( and his musicological 'matamatique'.... too)

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your support, but if you care about my poem why is it that you have printed it out in without regard to its actual structure (printed it out without stanza breaks)? This is NOT the way I wrote the poem, and the lack of concern for its actual structure is nothing less than than a symptom of the dumbing down of art that takes place every second on the internet and in the creative writing industry (or scam).

Issa's Untidy Hut said...


There is no excuse to cover the magnitude of the errors. They have been corrected.

I am very sorry.