Franz Wright, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, died at 62 years old on Thursday at his home in Waltham, Massachusetts. His publishing house Alfred A. Knopf confirmed the news.
"Franz gave us so much," Deborah Garrison, his longtime editor at Knopf, said in an email to The Huffington Post. "He lived for poetry and was a riveting voice -- I think the most irreverent believer we ever met on the page. And then the most reverent unbeliever, too, as he surveyed the gifts that life gave even those who are brought low. He wrote fearlessly about mental illness, addiction, and loneliness, but at the same time celebrated the small beauties around him and the larger beauty of language, which truly kept him alive. And so witty! Only Franz could have written 'The only animal that commits suicide / went for a walk in the park...' ! Just to mention one of my favorite examples ('The Only Animal.')"
" ... He managed to write poems in which the choice to live feels continually renewed, not just an urgent daily requirement for the poet but a call to arms that includes every single reader," Garrison added in a statement on Knopf's blog.
Wright, whose father was another Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, James Wright, was born in Vienna, Austria and is best-known for his 2003 collection, "Walking To Martha's Vineyard," which won the Pulitzer. Other works include "Wheeling Motel" (2009), "Earlier Poems" (2007), "The Beforelife" (2001), "Kindertotenwald" (2011) and "F" (2013).
He often wrote about isolation, illness and gratitude, and in a Q&A contest arranged by his publishing house, Wright spoke of his perspective. "Of course I would like to believe myself a person of hope, and yet it seems to me that hope and despair are two of the illusory polarities (which include life and death)," he said. "One cannot exist without the other, for one thing -- and for another, and speaking here strictly for myself, the spiritual condition of hope derives from the obvious hopelessness of every mortal's physical condition, the death sentence we are all living under."