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Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio Summary
James Wright

Everything you need to understand or teach Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio by James Wright.

  • Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio Summary & Study Guide

Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio Summary


Like many of James Wright's poems, "Autumn Begins in Martins Ferry, Ohio" is an autobiographical account of an occurrence in Wright's hometown in southeastern Ohio. It was published in the 1963 collection The Branch Will Not Break, a book which came to mark a turning point in the poet's writing style, moving him from formal, rhyming patterns to a more lyrical free verse. This poem highlights a subject consistent in Wright's work, namely the distressing and pitiable lives of many working class Americans who struggled through the Great Depression of the 1930s and whose descendants still struggle today.

The setting for "Autumn Begins" is a typical Friday night high school football game with most of the players' fathers watching from the stands. The narrator of the poem, presumably Wright himself, concentrates more on the men than on the game, depicting them as miserable factory workers who drink too much and...

(read more from the Study Guide)

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