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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Language ... and the way to use it

“I've always envied people who compose music or paint, because they don't have to be bothered with the sort of crude mess that language normally is, in everyday life and in the way we use it.” – Franz Wright

Born on this date in 1953, American poet Franz Wright and his father James Wright are the only parent/child pair to have won the Pulitzer Prize in the same category (his for his 2004 book of poems Walking to Martha’s Vineyard).   Prior to his early death from cancer in 2015 he was lauded by several critics as 
“America’s greatest contemporary poet.” 
In his precisely crafted, lyrical poems, Wright addresses           the subjects of isolation, illness, spirituality, and gratitude.   Of his work, he has commented, “I think ideally, I would like, in a poem, to operate by way of suggestion.”   For Saturday’s Poem, here is Wright’s,

The Mailman

From the third floor window
you watch the mailman’s slow progress
through the blowing snow.
As he goes from door to door

he might be searching
for a room to rent,
unsure of the address,
which he keeps stopping to check

in the outdated and now
obliterated clipping
he holds, between thickly gloved fingers,
close to his eyes

in a hunched and abruptly
simian posture
that makes you turn away,
quickly switching off the lamp.

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