How Does Philip Schultz's Life Affected By Failure?

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Failure, a collection of poems by Philip Schultz, won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. The collection, as suggested by the title, is centered on the idea of failure and its implications in our lives. Schultz gives the reader a unique perspective on this topic through an assortment of free verse poems that describe his own experiences. The poems included in Failure take the reader through parts of Schultz’s life that impart valuable lessons; in the process of writing these poems it appears that Schultz comes to terms with failures that have personally affected him. Poems on events such as time spent by Schultz in a mental clinic after a failed suicide attempt give the reader a unique first hand view of a life affected by failure, “In…show more content…
The hugger-mugger of over 15,000 scraps of scrolled DNA secrets…butt sniffing is just another way to shake hands with history” (82). These lines demonstrate how Schultz uses ideas that would be traditionally unappealing to show us faults in human reasoning. Blinded by an expectation for a certain level of perceived beauty, we ignore the wisdom to be gained from things we find disagreeable. In addition, Schultz has constructed this so the reader sees genuine emotion through expletives, “Molten pellets rained down…singeing my head… plucking out each pellet with tweezers the nurse said, ‘Go on, scream’ So I did, each f—ing time” (85). The use of the ‘f’ word in this quotation truly brings out the pain that Schultz wants us to perceive and makes the description feel authentic (as this word would most definitely be in the vocabulary of a teenage Schultz). The inclusion of expletives challenges the idea that good poetry has to be completely written with refined language. Not to deny that Schultz utilizes eloquent writing and an impressive vocabulary, but, as this quotation demonstrates, expletives reveal a new level of emotion that a normal vocabulary couldn’t express. Furthermore, these expletives allow the reader to associate with Schultz’s description. In real life no one speaks with the language of a poet, and by occasionally digressing from his refined vocabulary, the author reminds us that he is narrating real life

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