Publishers Weekly, 2011-09-19 Wright has written frequently of his father, the poet James Wright (1927-1980), and the repercussions of the latter's suicide. His 12th book, all in prose, takes its title from Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, and has its English equivalent in something like "Dead Children's Wood." It imagines a son's life as a kind of living death, one that, as its end nears, has become a forbidding forest of memories where people, places and eras blur together, united by the 'poet's loneliness and abjection, and, savingly, by the kind of humor that permits endurance: "Sooner or later, like most everyone, I will get down on my hands and knees baa-ing obligingly, offer my throat to the knife, and move on." In the meantime, the poet fuses Neitzsche's final moments of sanity; "Husserl's suspension of belief strategy"; bouts of vomiting before watching CNN; fantasies of a "child psychiatrist" (who "will not be seeing any patients this evening. until she has finished her homework"); dilations upon religious figures, Basho, Kierke-gaard; and walks "On My Father's Farm in New York City" into a kind of continuous diaristic fairy tale. The result is a set of sad and engaging "I do this, I do that" poems spanning a lifetime spent in search of something, and someone, lost: "I look up, and still you are still nowhere to be seen, still unfound." (Sept. 7) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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