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  • Wheeling Motel
  • Written by Franz Wright
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375711473
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  • Wheeling Motel
  • Written by Franz Wright
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307701329
  • Our Price: $12.99
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Wheeling Motel

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List Price: $12.99


On Sale: August 16, 2011
Pages: 112 | ISBN: 978-0-307-70132-9
Published by : Knopf Knopf
Wheeling Motel Cover

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In his tenth collection of poetry, Franz Wright gives us an exquisite book of reconciliation with the past and acceptance of what may come in the future.

From his earliest years, he writes in “Will,” he had “the gift of impermanence / so I would be ready, / accompanied / by a rage to prove them wrong / . . . and that I too was worthy of love.” This rage comes coupled with the poet’s own brand of love, what he calls “one / strange alone / heart’s wish / to help all / hearts.” Poetry is indeed Wright’s help, and he delivers it to us with a wry sense of the daily in America: in his wonderfully local relationship to God (whom he encounters along with a catfish in the emerald shallows of Walden Pond); in the little West Virginia motel of the title poem, on the banks of the great Ohio River, where “Tammy Wynette’s on the marquee” and he is visited by the figure of Walt Whitman, “examining the tear on a dead face.”

Here, in Wheeling Motel, Wright’s poetry continues to surprise us with its frank appraisal of our soul, and with his own combustible loneliness and unstoppable joy.


Wheeling Motel

The vast waters flow past its backyard.
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.

There’s this line in an unpublished poem of yours.
The river is like that,
a blind familiar.

The wind will die down when I say so;
the leaden and lessening light on
the current.

Then the moon will rise
like the word reconciliation,
like Walt Whitman examining the tear on a dead face.

Day One
Good morning class. Today
we’re going to be discussing
the deplorable adventures
of Franz Wright and his gory flute.
Just kidding. The topic this morning

is an unparaphrasable logic constructed
from parallelisms and images
and held together, on
occasion, by nothing
but the magical non sequitur—

but the hell with that.
We should really examine
your life, the one you bought,
and what happened when you got home
and attempted to assemble it:

that disfiguring explosion
no one witnessed, no one heard,
which you yourself cannot recall,
and by whose unimaginable light you seek
to write the name of beauty.

From the Hardcover edition.
Franz Wright

About Franz Wright

Franz Wright - Wheeling Motel

Photo © Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright

Franz Wright’s most recent works include Wheeling Motel and Earlier Poems. Walking to Martha’s Vineyard was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2004, and he has also been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Fellowship, and the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, among other honors. He lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, with his wife, the translator and writer Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright.



“These new poems refract the light of the poet’s insightful, humorous, and often humble gaze in ways that are surprising and rewarding.” —America

“Uningratiating, bumptiously witty . . . and routinely surprising.” —The New York Times Book Review

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