Wright, Franz (1953-2015)
Scope:
The Franz Wright collection consists of manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, audio, printed material, personal memorabilia, and other material.  There is also a significant amount of material in the Franz Wright papers regarding his father, James Wright.

Manuscripts by Wright in the collection include drafts of numerous poems with drafts of poems.  Most of these were published in one of Wright's poetry collections, including The One Whose Eyes Open When You Close Your Eyes (1982); No Siege is Absolute (1983, revised edition 2000); Entries in an Unknown Hand (1990); Midnight Postscript (1990);  Rorschach Test (1991); Ill Lit: Selected and New Poems (1998); The Beforelife (2001), Walking to Martha's Vineyard (2003); and God's Silence (2006).  Included with drafts of the published poems are several unpublished poems as well. Unpublished poetry collections by Wright include Encounter at 3:00 AM (ca. 1996); Words to the Still Sad Music (1999); The Soul; Things As They Are (2003); The Visit (1980); and Twelve Camellia Texts.  Other poetry and prose in the collection include several poems published in The New Yorker magazine (2000-2005); and various rough drafts, notes, and fragments of poems dated 1984 to 2005.  There are a number of spiral-bound notebooks in the collection (1977-2004), containing rough drafts and fragments of poems; and drafts of three speeches given by Wright. Translations in the collection by Franz Wright include The Unknown Rilke (1983); an earlier draft under the title Rainer Maria Rilke: The Life of Mary and Selected Poems and Fragments (1982); a selection of various translations, including many Rilke poems (1970s); Rilke translations from Uncollected Poems and Fragments: 1906-1926 (1970s); and Persephone's Bees: Thoughts on Mandelstam (Summer 1991).  Various translations done by Wright while a student at Oberlin College include poems by Rilke; Rene Char; Boris Pasternak; Paul Celan; and Karl Krolow.
 
Manuscripts in the collection not by Franz Wright includes material by Ulrich Baer; and poems by Deborah Bogen, Alan Dugan, Carolyn Forche, Alison Harville, Matt Henriksen, Keith Hollaman, Ilya Kaminsky, Mary Karr, Bill Knott, Denis Johnson, Larry Levis, John Mahnke, and Noelle Kocot.  There is an essay on Franz Wright written by West Point cadet Kalen Smith (March 2003); a copy of Further Adventures with You (1986) and Translation of the Gospel Back Into Tongues (1982) by poet Carolyn D. Wright; a review of Ill Lit by Vijay Seshadri (1999); a poetry chapbook from Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright (2000); and copies of Liberty Wright Kovacs' memoirs Escape Over the Green Wall: The Story of My Marriage to James Wright (2003) and The Journey West and the Life I Made (2005).  There is also material related to The Lights in the Hallway: the Marriage of Annie and James Wright: A Biography, 1966-1980, by Anna Mortal.

Correspondence in the collection consists of personal and professional letters to and from Wright.  Personal letters include emails from Wright to others with drafts of poems to be read and evaluated (1998-2005); letters to and from Wright to his mother, Liberty Wright Kovacs (1984-2005); and other letters to and from his family (1972-2002).  Professional correspondence includes letters from Deborah Garrison, Wright's editor at Alfred A. Knopf (2002-2004); poet Charles Simic (1978 and 1990-1995); various letters concerning public appearances, readings, publishing, reprinting, and Wright's Pushcart Prize nomination (1987-2005); letters concerning Wright's Guggenheim Foundation application; and letters regarding Wright’s 2002 nomination and 2004 win for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.  Notable correspondents include Heidi Arnold, Louise Gluck, and John Mahnke.  There is also general correspondence arranged chronologically (1970s-2000s).

Photographs in the collection include a number of family-related photographs from the 1950s, as well as albums of Wright family photos (1953-1964). Also present is a photograph of Franz Wright and Robert Bly (1970s) and photographs dating from the 1990s to 2004.  

Audio recordings in the collection includes cassettes and compact discs of Wright reading his poetry (1978-2007), as well as a radio interview (2004).

Printed material in the collection either by Wright or containing pieces written by him include various magazines and journals; the chapbooks Tapping the White Cane of Solitude (1976), The Earth Without You (1980), Going North in Winter (1986), And Still the Hand Will Sleep in its Glass Ship; and Knell (1999).  Reviews of Wright's poetry include a review of Rorschach Test by Charles Simic; and a review of Ill Lit by Vijay Seshadri (12/3/99).  There is promotional material related to The Beforelife (ca. 2001) and Walking to Martha’s Vineyard (2003); articles concerning Wright and his Pulitzer Prize (2004); and general interviews.

Personal memorabilia in the collection includes a program from the American Academy of Arts and Letters 1995 award ceremony; a letter and statement concerning the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry (1996); announcement and commendation concerning the Witter Bynner Prize for Poetry (1995); schedule for Franz and Elizabeth Wright’s appearance at Oberlin College (2001); and a publication announcement for The One Whose Eyes Open When You Close Your Eyes (1981).

The collection also contains files of financial material; medical records (1990-2003); legal material related to literary contract issues; and professional material, including student evaluations of Wright’s poetry classes (1988); and Wright’s teaching materials, including copies of numerous poems used in his lessons. There are three CD-ROMs in the collection containing Wright's email correspondence (2005); images from the International Festival of Literature (2005); and a disc containing fts of The Beforelife, Walking to Martha's Vineyard, and unfinished poems.   

Franz Wright's father, poet James Wright, is represented in the collection with manuscripts and correspondence.

Manuscripts by James Wright in the collection include The Journey: Poems by James Wright (published posthumously by Random House in 1982); an autobiographical essay (June 1976); a sermon given at the Methodist Church in Malden, New York (1969); two drafts of the poem "Wishes For My Son," under the title "In Fear of Harvests" (early 1960s); a draft dated 1978; drafts of a unpublished poem, "Franz" (1962); and The Jewel, signed by James Wright.  Translations and commentaries on poems include an undated translation of Georg Tralk's poem "Birth," by James Wright and "RB" (probably Robert Bly); a draft of poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke translated by James Wright (1952); and Eight Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by James Wright and Sarah Youngblood (January 1963).  

Correspondence from James Wright to Franz Wright includes letters, notes, and postcards (1971-1979).  There are also letters concerning the publication of A Wild Perfection: The Selected Letters of James Wright, edited by Anne Wright and Saundra Rose Maley (2005).  
 
Other material regarding James Wright includes his death certificate and printed obituaries; a University of Massachusetts Spring Poetry Festival broadside including "The Blessing," with a holograph dedication to Franz (1969); "From These Letters..." a booklet of excerpts from James Wright's letters (1978-1979), with an inscription to Franz from Anne Wright; and an issue of the New York Times Book Review (1980), with a piece by Alfred Kazin on James Wright.
CLICK BELOW TO VIEW THE INVENTORY OF THE COLLECTION
Associated Subjects
1. Literary Collections Subject Guide
2. Poetry Subject Guide