The Beforelife

By Franz Wright
(Knopf Publishing Group, Paperback, 9780375709432, 96pp.)

Publication Date: April 2, 2002

Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.

Go


Description

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

Two teaspoonfuls,
and my mind goes
everyone can kiss my ass now--

then it's changed,
I change my mind.

Eyes so sad, and infinitely kind.




About the Author
Born in Vienna, Franz Wright is the author of ten full-length collections of poetry. Walking to Martha's Vineyard (Knopf 2003) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. His collections Wheeling Motel, Earlier Poems, and God's Silence were published by Knopf in 2009, 2007, and 2006. Wright's other works include the recent chapbooks ENTRIES OF THE CELL (Marick Press, 2010), 7PROSE (Marick Press, 2010), LEAVE ME HIDDEN (Marick Press, 2010) and THE CATFISH (Marick Press, 2007), and the full-length collections The Beforelife (2001), Ill Lit: New and Selected Poems (1998), Rorschach Test (1995), The Night World and the Word Night (1993), and Midnight Postscript (1993). Mr. Wright has also translated poems by Rene Char, Erica Pedretti, and Rainer Maria Rilke. He has received the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, as well as grants and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Whiting Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Wright has taught in many colleges and universities, including Emerson College and the University of Arkansas. He is currently the writer-in-residence at Brandeis. He has also worked in a mental health clinic in Lexington, Massachusetts, and as a volunteer at the Center for Grieving Children.
Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound






Update Profile