Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Franz Wright at SAM

Dean and I went to hear Franz Wright read at the Seattle Art Museum tonight, where he was presented the second annual Denise Levertov Award, by Image magazine and Seattle Pacific University. We had a yummy dinner at the Brooklyn first (Cosmo, Caesar, Carpaccio, Crab Cakes . . . I guess everything had to begin with a C?). There was a brief slideshow about Denise Levertov's life, and a so-so recording of her reading a poem. Franz Wright read fairly well; his poetry so dark and heavy and spare; his voice a thick mixture of anguish and defiance; with these brief moments of utter radiance that really catch you off guard.

"Medjugorje"

Highway shrine
lighthouse
of time

in the bleached-
gold winter
wheat —

listening in
another tongue, I

walk here

Come help me through
the long hour
of our death


from Walking to Martha's Vineyard

4 comments:

jenni said...

Franz Wright is one of my favorite living poets. he captures so much with sparity--my guess is that he's mastered how to use silences, knowing what to 'put in' but more importantly he knows precisely what to "leave out". I've been studying his poems for awhile and trying to learn this technique. Can't say I'm having much luck, but eventually i might catch on.

Peter said...

Jenni: yes, FW said as much in one of the poems he read; I use these words to give shape to the silence, wherein the heart of the matter lies (certainly not the words he used, but the gist). I think it was in a poem from his forthcoming book.

Radish King said...

I want to know what kind of shoes he was wearing.

Peter said...

I'm not sure. Either brown Jesus sandals, or black Prada loafers, I guess.