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Wheeling Motel

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  196 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In his tenth collection of poetry, Franz Wright gives us an exquisite book of reconciliation with the past and acceptance of what may come in the future.

From his earliest years, he writes in “Will,” he had “the gift of impermanence / so I would be ready, / accompanied / by a rage to prove them wrong / . . . and that I too was worthy of love.” This rage comes coupled with
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Knopf
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Matthew Mousseau
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I breathed on the window and made my initial.

It's true, and then there was the dream
of being present
at my parents' wedding.

That's right: I breathed
on a little black fly-
husk there on the sill
and it came back to life,

My body is lying in bed
all this time,
I know that.

I can see.

You say it's been there for a while?
You have no idea.
- Why Do You Ask?, pg. 14

* * *

A pretty girl asks
for my autograph,
delighted! Except
it's her cigarette
she wants signed,

then lighted. Think about it.
I do. And am
for a mome
John Matt
Oct 18, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone Who Loves Poetry
Recommended to John by: Jan Baily
Franz Wright's latest collection of poems, "Wheeling Motel", shows the poet on a more reflective quest concerning his past; the Catholic faith is a sort of cradle for these broken diamonds of poems and reveries about both Wright's own past and some of his original poetic inspirations. Out of the millions of poems written about poor Charles Baudelaire, about whom W.H. Auden once wrote, "a strong man, yet weaker than any woman who has ever walked the earth", I think Wright transcends most of them ...more
Zara Raab
Feb 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
The novelist Denis Johnson said of an earlier collection Franz Wright’s poems, "They're like tiny jewels shaped by blunt, ruined fingers--miraculous gifts." I think of them as thimbles of raw carrot juice, intense and flavorful––experiences served up to us straight, pulled from the dream worlds of sleep or altered states, and grated to juice, like the bright orange carrot juice behind the glass refrigerated case in my favorite organic yoghurt store on Fillmore Avenue in San Francisco. Wright’s p ...more
Jan 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I loved this book. Some of my favorite poems were: Pediatric Suicide, Hospitalization, To a Boston Poet, My Pew and The Call. I'm looking forward to reading more of Wright's work. ...more
Jeffrey Wright
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A river of loneliness disguised as humanity's voice. ...more
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
My admiration for Franz Wright grows.

In this collection, Wright wrestles with his personal suffering, with God, and with the balance of joy and depression; the structure of the poems vary from long lines asking questions, to brief, almost two-word fragments that run like stream-of-consciousness for pages.

My favorite line, from "The Our Father":

"What final catastrophe sent
to wean me from this world."
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
«Why Do You Ask

I breathed on the window and made my initial.

It's true, and then there was the dream
of being present
at my parents' wedding.

That's right: I breathed
on a little black fly-
husk there on the sill
and it came back to life,

My body is lying in bed
all this time,
I know that.

I can see.

You say it's been there for a while?
You have no idea.»
RJ Boyle
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
"You weren't born that way.

And it didn't happen to you overnight, no, you had to work hard
all your life to achieve it;

a power over you steadily increasing in direct proportion to
your disbelief in it,

to the very fulfillment of your greatest fear:

you're going to live. when you wanted to quit

you could not, and when you could--

when you could you weren't about to."

Jul 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Quite a peculiar anthology. It felt like most of the poems were written while the author was high as a kite. Or out of his mind. Or something. Still, there were some real pearls hidden in there, like for example, "What did not in time become a source of suffering?" ...more
Eliana Chow
May 16, 2021 added it
Shelves: 2021, poetry
These were hit and miss for me. I much prefer his earlier collection, “Walking to Martha’s Vineyard.”
Ulyses Razo
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Now I'll have to devour everything else Franz Wright has written. ...more
Sep 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Borges said that music was poetry, but even the esteemed Jorge didn't quite predict the songs of Franz Wright - little peeps and chuckles that echo from vast, dark rooms. Plus, Borges couldn't with his affliction couldn't have quite gotten a handle on Wright's power of image, how even the seemingly static image of a rider on the bus quivers down to the soul in Wright's hands, not to mention how a black lake can have a "still cumulus surface." Wright's poetic feet stand between thought and image ...more
Charlane Brady
Jul 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
How can you not like a talented poet telling fear to f*!@# off? Franz Wright is brilliant. I haven't loved reading a book of poems this much since To Bedlam and Part Way Back by Anne Sexton. I look forward to reading more...

My favorites:

The World of Senses
Thirteen Lines
Wheeling Motel
The Catfish
To a Young Poet
The Soul Complains

Selections from Wheeling Motel were put to music.

More on Franz Wright at Blue Flower Arts and Poetry Foundation.
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
After the disappointment I felt reading "Walking to Martha's Vineyard," I was reluctant to even read this slim book of poetry. But I'm glad I did. Whereas "Walking" seemed a cheesy (if not kneejerk) reaction to his recent conversion to Catholicism, "Wheeling Motel" is a more mature exploration of faith and compassion in the modern world, from drug-inflicted deathbeds to humble pleas to God for direction. This is the type of book you can read in an hour and re-read again and again. So glad I revi ...more
Dec 22, 2010 rated it liked it
A little windy ("wind" like air that moves) compared to his other recent books, and therefore it's missing some of the terse vitality that made those books brilliant. A strong work compared to much of what's out there, though, as Wright's effortless spirituality overcomes his moments of largesse. Altogether, a good read for fans of Wright, but probably not the best starting point for those new to his work. ...more
May 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
In Wheeling Motel, Franz Wright's poems reel from and deal with fear, delusion, and affliction. For whatever oblivious reason, perhaps, oblivion, Wright's stuff reminds me of Christian Wiman's poems in Every Riven Thing and Frank Schaeffer's thought processes in Why How. Now, in memory palace, Franz Wright returns his books to God. ...more
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jamie by: Cataloger at work
Shelves: poetry
If you're in the mood for dark moments exploding into bright poems of remorse and redemption, then this should not be missed. My favorites were: Why Do You Ask, Pediatric Suicide, The Problem, The Call, My Peace I Leave, Day One, and from "Anniversary":

how little say I had in what I said:
the best years came to me at the end, and
love, the next best thing to being dead.
Oct 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Don't get to read alot of poetry, especially newer folks, but have become a big fan of Franz Wright over the past few years. Just got this. Finished it last night; liked the poems towards the end better. ...more
Patricia Murphy
Jul 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Love love love. Can't wait to read it again. Some of my favorite lines: “the knife giving the wound some free advice.” “What a day: I had some trouble/ following the plot line; however/ the special effects were incredible.” “Just what the world needs, another world.”
Davis Stamford
May 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have read a few of Wright's books now... Like this the best. ...more
Phillip Grant
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
I can never work out what he is doing with his line-endings
Annaka A.
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Sep 01, 2013
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Born in Vienna, Franz Wright is the author of fourteen collections of poetry. Walking to Martha's Vineyard (Knopf 2003) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize. His newest collections, God’s Silence, and Earlier Poems were published by Knopf in, 2006 & 2007. Wright’s other books include The Beforelife (2001), Ill Lit: New and Selected Poems (1998), Rorschach Test (1995), The Night World and the Word Night ...more

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deliberate extermination of indigenous populations?
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Should an odd number be sacrificed to the gods of the sky, and an even to those of the
underworld, or vice versa?
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What would you have done differently?
Why are you here?”
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