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Celebrating National Poetry Month with Franz Wright

National Poetry Month was celebrated in a special way at the Milford Town Library. Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Franz Wright visited the library to read from his most recent collection of poetry, Wheeling Motel. He also read a selection from Walking to Martha's Vineyard, which won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 2003 and from an unnamed work of prose that he is still writing.

Wright was born in Vienna and currently has 14 collections of poetry in print. He and his father, poet, James Wright, share the distinction of being the only father and son to have both won a Pulitzer for poetry.

In addition to the Pulitzer, Wright has also 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.

According to critics, Wright's poetry is precisely crafted and lyrical, dealing with subjects of isolation, love, death, spirituality and gratitude. His poetry is short-lined moving the reader from laughter to quiet reflection as in Wheeling Motel, when he writes about the hotel in the West Virginia City, saying,

"The vast waters flow past its back yard

You can purchase a six-pack in bars!

Tammy Wynette's on the marquee

a block down. It's twenty-five years ago:

you went to death, I to life, and

which was luckier God only knows."

Wright's poems also explore aspects of his life—his work in mental health clinics, his volunteering at a center for grieving children and his marriage to his wife, Elizabeth. The couple lives in Massachusetts and Wright is poet-in-residence at Brandies University.

In addition to reading his poetry, Wright also signed copies of the collections for the enthusiastic fans who attended the reading which was sponsored by the Waters Corporation and the Friends of the Milford Town Library.


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