Monday, February 9, 2015

Ohio with James and Franz Wright

In week five we visited Ohio with James and Franz Wright, father and son and both Pulitzer winners. "Autumn Begins in Martin's Ferry, Ohio, " a frequently anthologized poem written in 1963, shows us how in a depleted social environment, violence--in the form of football--becomes acceptable, even hopeful. Part of the sadness of this poem lies in the fathers, beaten down by the world, failing to move up a ladder of success, failing even as husbands; the other sadness lies in the sons, the "suicidally beautiful" sons who in 1963 had only a life in the mill to look forward to. In 2015 the mill is closed and those jobs are no longer there.

Kathy provided us with further insight into Martin's Ferry with memories that were happier but nonetheless poignant.

Franz Wright's prose poem pictures the writer returning to the house he'd lived in as a teenager. Dust permeates the poem. The final third of the poem admitted of different interpretations: some saw the narrator going to his father's grave at a cemetery; others saw the son sitting down with the father in death. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but no one is home in Zanesville, Ohio.

No comments:

Post a Comment