In this stunning collection, Franz Wright chronicles the journey back from a place of isolation and wordlessness. After a period when it seemed certain he would never write poetry again, he speaks with bracing clarity about the twilit world that lies between madness and sanity, addiction and recovery. Wright negotiates the precarious transition from illness to health in a state of skeptical rapture, discovering along the way the exhilaration of love--both divine and human--and finding that even the most battered consciousness can be good company.
Whether he is writing about his regret for the abortion of a child, describing the mechanics of slander ("I can just hear them on the telephone and keening all their kissy little knives"), or composing an ironic ode to himself ("To a Blossoming Nut Case"), Wright's poems are exquisitely precise. Charles Simic has characterized him as a poetic miniaturist, whose "secret ambition is to write an epic on the inside of a matchbook cover." Time and again, Wright turns on a dime in a few brief lines, exposing the dark comedy and poignancy of his heightened perception.
Here is one of the poems from the collection:
Description of Her Eyes
and my mind goes
everyone can kiss my ass now --
then it's changed,
I change my mind.
Eyes so sad, and infinitely kind.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Suspense & Thrillers eBook: The Beforelife|
|Release Date: 02-24-2010|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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There’s this pew
at the back
all your life, like your death bed.
above, eyes and mouth
before you too enter
the third person, light
for the here,
"Thanks Prayer at the Cove"
A year ago today
I was unable to speak
one syntactically coherent
thought let alone write it down: today
in this dear and absurdly allegorical place
by your grace
I am here
and not in that graveyard, its skyline
visible now from the November leaflessness
and I am here to say
it's 5 o'clock, too late to write more
(especially for the one whose eyes
are starting to get dark), the single
dispirited swan out on the windless brown
transparent floor floating
no this is what I still
can see, white
as a joint in a box of little cigars-
and where is the mate
Lord, it is almost winter in the year
2000 and now I look up to find five
practically unseeable mallards at my feet
they have crossed
nearly standing on earth they're so close
looking up to me
that's what my eyes of flesh see (barely)
but what I wished to say
is this, listen:
a year ago today
I found myself riding the subway psychotic
(I wasn't depressed, I wanted to rip my face off)
unable to write what I thought, which was nothing
though I tried though I finally stopped trying and
at the face of the man
directly across from me, and it began
to melt before my eyes
and in an ins