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Walking to Martha's Vineyard

Walking to Martha's Vineyard by Franz Wright
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In this radiant new collection, Franz Wright shares his regard for life in all its forms and his belief in the promise of blessing and renewal. As he watches the “Resurrection of the little apple tree outside / my window,” he shakes off his fear of mortality, concluding “what death . . . There is only / mine / or yours,– / but the world / will be filled with the living.” In prayerlike poems he invokes the one “who spoke the world / into being” and celebrates a dazzling universe–snowflakes descending at nightfall, the intense yellow petals of the September sunflower, the planet adrift in a blizzard of stars, the simple mystery of loving other people. As Wright overcomes a natural tendency toward loneliness and isolation, he gives voice to his hope for “the only animal that commits suicide,” and, to our deep pleasure, he arrives at a place of gratitude that is grounded in the earth and its moods.

From the Hardcover edition.
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group; March 2009
96 pages; ISBN 9780307548894
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Title: Walking to Martha's Vineyard
Author: Franz Wright
"Walking to Martha’s Vineyard"

And the ocean smells like lilacs in late August–how
is that.

The light there muted (silver) as remembered light.

Do you have any children?

No, lucky for them.

Bad things happen when you get hands, dolphin.

Can you tell us a little bit about your upbringing?

There is no down or up in space or in the womb.

If they’d stabbed me to death on the day I was born, it
would have been an act of mercy.

Like the light the last room, the windowless room at the
end, must look out on. Gold-tinged, blue

vapor trail breaking up now like the white line you see,
after driving all day, when your eyes close;

vapor trail breaking up now between huge clouds resembling
a kind of Mt. Rushmore of your parents’ faces.

And these untraveled windy back roads here–cotton
leaves blowing past me, in the long blue
horizontal light–

if I am on an island, how is it they go on forever.

This sky like an infinite tenderness, I have caught
glimpses of that, often, so often, and never yet have
I described it, I can’t, somehow, I never will.

How is it that I didn’t spend my whole life being happy, loving
other human beings’ faces.

And wave after wave, the ocean smells like lilacs in
late August.

From the Hardcover edition.
  • News
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