cover image God's Silence

God's Silence

Franz Wright, , . Knopf, $24 (144pp) ISBN 978-1-4000-4351-4

Wright's Walking to Martha's Vineyard won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize; this book offers more agonic short poems on struggles with addiction and pain, but from a perspective much closer to faith than despair. Extended pieces like "East Boston, 1996" arrive at brutal truths ("the eyes of the terrified/ terrify") and miniature lyrics such as "The Choice" ("God can do what is impossible, but / God can only do what is impossible") seem to project upward in spiritual longing. In an Icarian approach to the light, Wright weaves a doubt-tinged refrain—"I have heard God's silence like the sun"—through poem after poem; pieces such as "On the Death of a Cat" ("Dear Stealth / of innocence....") compete with more inspired passages. And as with Walking , the poet's father, mid-century poet James Wright, looms large, as absence and as towering presence. Although there are serious dips in the road here, the best poems offer hope and compassion, and embrace the contradictions they present: "Proved faithless, still I wait." (Mar. )