The Farrar, Straus and Giroux Poetry Blog

April 12, 2007

"I Have Wasted My Life"

A_wild_perfection If you could buy stock in poets, I would recommend investing heavily in James Wright. We have three different poets reading his work this month, and all of the poems are off the charts in terms of clarity of vision and that last line that's so good, it's like a punch to the guts. (For example see: the title of this post.)

Here I've got Paul Muldoon reading both Ranier Maria Rilke's 'Archaic Torso of Apollo' and Wright's 'Lying in a Hammock on William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota' and discussing the connections between the two poems--the 'fierce pulse' that underlies inanimate objects in each.

Personally, though, I can't get past the beautiful symmetry of those two last lines--Rilke's 'you must change your life' and Wright's 'I have wasted my life'--quite suitable for a grey, rainy day in New York City.

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