This little book was the first publication by this Pulitzer-prize-winning American poet, appearing when he was just 23 years old, and before his graduation from Oberlin College. Dedicated 'for my brother' (without specifying whether this means a sibling, or his brother man), the poems have a stark quality which mesmerises the reader, and hints at the future success enjoyed by this well-thought of writer. One commentator wrote: “In his best poems, Wright grasps at the ‘radiantly obvious thing’ in short-lined short lyrics that turn and twist down the page. The urgency and calculated unsteadiness of the utterances, with their abrupt shifts of direction, jump-cuts and quips, mime the wounded openness of a speaker struggling to find faith.” Another refers to: "... deftness in patterning, startling metaphors, starkness of speech, compression of both pain and joy, and a stoic self-possession with the agonies and penalties of existence".
Franz Wright (1953-205) was born in Vienna, but grew up in the US (variously living in the Northwest, the Midwest, and California). He taught at Emerson College and other universities, worked in mental health clinics, and volunteered at a center for grieving children. He and his father James Wright are the only parent/child pair to have won the Pulitzer Prize in the same category.
The book is actually more of a booklet, containing just 21 printed pages plus title & half-title pages etc. The parchment-style cream card cover is in good condition apart from some browning on the top and spine edges, with plain black titles printed on, and white words impressed to the front. The stitched binding is firm. Inside, a deep pink paper inner cover (with previous owner's name at top R/H corner) protects the printed pages, which are all clean and bright with no markings, apart from the final page, where the last 11 lines of the poem 'The Return' have been blacked out, and four different lines written in ink beside them (see photo). The book is no. 186 of a limited edition of 250 copies.