The work of Franz Wright displays a different kind of craftsmanship. In God's Silence the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer offers looser, more spacious poems with lines less closely knit, the absorption of them as natural as respiration for the reader. Marked by melancholy and a seemingly hard-won wisdom, the collection as a whole reflects the plight of an isolated soul at odds with the unseen.
In On the Bus, a poem at once nightmarish and lovely, a trip by public transportation brings to the poet's mind a group execution, inspires diverting speculations/on the comparative benefits/of waiting in front of a ditch to be shot. Despite the sharing of a common, horrible fate, Wright imagines a lack of solidarity among the people involved. This tension between the opposing poles of isolation and communion is a recurring theme. For the poet, there is no co-existence, only existence: Nobody has called for some time./(I was always the death of the party.) he writes in Progress. Wright produces poems of unusual intimacy, and his humility, as evidenced in an urgent prose poem called From the Past, stays with the reader in the end: Who did I imagine I was, that things as they are, reality as God gave it, was not enough for me?