Franz Wright recites Bruce Beasley's (unpublished) poem "Approaching Easter" in a recording he made himself on 27 January 2012.
Note from Elisabeth Oehlkers Wright:
This short film made by me (for me)––in 2017, I think––splices together frames beginning with my first visit after Franz's burial in 2015 to his graveside at Mt. Calvary, coinciding with the day the cottonwood blossomed. The places where I resided from January 2017 through December 2017 make up the rest. The brief musical quote at the end is from Michael Brook’s composition "Red Shift." "Approaching Easter" was written after Bruce's mother died suddenly during his sophomore year at Oberlin College. Franz and Bruce were classmates at Oberlin College in the 70s. As long as I've known Franz, he'd been reciting these lines.
Franz Wright was an American poet born in Vienna, Austria in 1953 and grew up in the Northwest, the Midwest, and northern California. His works include The Beforelife (2001), Walking to Martha's Vineyard (2003), God's Silence (2006), Earlier Poems (2007), Wheeling Motel (2009), Kindertotenwald (2011), and F (2013). He was the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Fellowship, the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry, and a Pulitzer Prize for Walking to Martha's Vineyard. Wright, who was the son of the poet James Wright, died in 2015. Wright's posthumous manuscript Axe in Blossom is currently in pre-production with Knopf.
Bruce Beasley is the author of nine collections of poems, most recently All Soul Parts Returned (BOA Editions, 2017), Theophobia (BOA Editions, 2012), and forthcoming in spring 2023, Prayershreds (Orison Books). The Corpse Flower: New and Selected Poems was published by The University of Washington Press in 2007. His previous collection, Lord Brain, an extended meditation on neuroscience, cosmology, theology, and language, won the University of Georgia Press Contemporary Poetry Series Award and was published in 2005. Beasley won the Colorado Prize for Poetry in 1996 for Summer Mystagogia, selected by Charles Wright, and the 1994 Ohio State University Press/Journal Award for The Creation. Wesleyan University Press published his books Spirituals (1988) and Signs and Abominations (2000).
Translator Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright lives in a river valley campground in Western Maine, anchored by daily photography and regenerative botanical landscaping. A life-long amateur, her images have appeared on a few book jackets over the years and recently in Art & Letters No. 2 and The Lincoln Review. Some of her new work can be found at her website: www.foglightphoto.com.