Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It Takes Me A While

... but eventually I catch up. I finally approached and mastered the self-serve line at Home Depot, and so this inevitably comes next: the 2004 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry, Franz Wright.

At first I was dismayed. I wondered why two poets in the same family could win the Pulitzer while I flounder around without a published book of poetry or an editor to nominate me. Then I read some of the pieces from Walking to Martha's Vineyard and determined to buy it. It became clear very quickly that he won the prize for a reason. Moreover, he has materialized on my list of favorite Pulitzer winners (along with Yusef Komunyakaa and Gwendolyn Brooks). I believe his latest book is God's Silence, and he's published 13 books of poetry prior to 2003.

What year is it? 2006? Anyhow, so I'm flipping through my copy of Czeslaw Milosz's Closer to the River, and realized I'd had it autographed by Robert Haas. I read a poem I'd previously overlooked, "Pierson College." Ostensibly, it's about his youth in Poland vs. his later years as a Professor at Yale. Going from one to the other, he lived two disparate lives, and this is a theme which has intrigued me lately. But the poem is fuller than that, and the more I think about it the more it seems to hold.

There's a special joy in discovering a new poem that is personally meaningful (even if I am the last in line for enlightenment and the rest of the world has already awarded the poets the Pulitzer and Nobel Prize respectively).

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