Franz Wright, Poet and Muse

2004 Pulitzer Winner Inspires New York Rock Band

Poet Franz Wright

Poet Franz Wright. Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright hide caption

itoggle caption Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright

Franz Wright, winner of this year's Pulitzer Prize for poetry, is the son of a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. The late James Wright won the award in 1972.

Wright Reads

From 'Walking to Martha's Vineyard'

Listen 'Year One'

Listen 'The First Supper'

Listen 'The Only Animal'

NPR's Scott Simon talks with Wright about his relationship with his father, who died in 1980, and some of his more recent poetry. The 2003 collection Walking to Martha's Vineyard won Franz Wright him the Pulitzer.

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Wright also discusses the importance of his work with the mentally ill. The poet went through his own battles with depression, alcoholism and drug abuse, and feels strongly that his experience can help those who feel isolated and alone in their illness, as he once did. Wright says his poetry was "the cure" for his depression.

Songs by ill lit

From the CD 'i need you'

Listen 'mid-city'

Listen 'mostly fair skies'

Listen 'anniversary'

The conversation is joined by Daniel Ahearn, whose rock band, ill lit, is named after a collection of Wright's poetry. Ahearn, his friends and bandmantes have all been influenced by the poet's work. Wright and Ahearn have met and Wright is a fan of the band's music, calling it "sophisticated and catchy."

Ahearn describes Wright's poetry as "a gift to humanity" for its ability to heal through expression.

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