“The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do / without,” Diane Seuss writes in this brilliant, candid work, her most personal collection to date. These poems tell the story of a life at risk of spilling over the edge of the page, from Seuss’s working-class childhood in rural Michigan to the dangerous allures of New York City and back again. With sheer virtuosity, Seuss moves nimbly across thought and time, poetry and punk, AIDS and addiction, Christ and motherhood, showing us what we can do, what we can do without, and what we offer to one another when we have nothing left to spare. Like a series of cels on a filmstrip, frank: sonnets captures the magnitude of a life lived honestly, a restless search for some kind of “beauty or relief.” Seuss is at the height of her powers, devastatingly astute, austere, and—in a word—frank.
“The whole book is . . . barbed and artful, dramatizing both Seuss’s writing life and her life-life, staking out a territory for the reader to look at and admire but never to control or own.”—Poetry Foundation
“Seuss transforms ‘tragic spectacle’ into something beautiful, visionary, ‘revolting and grand.’”—The Nation
“Seuss is at her most moving and morally attuned…”—Harvard Review