SOMETIMES WE’RE ALL LIVING IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY
Carnegie Mellon University Press (October 2017)
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-88748-625-8
Ranging from love song to train song to jump rope rhyme, the poems of Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country are voiced by perpetual outsiders searching for a sense of place from small Southern towns to the tunnels and tracks of the urban North. Personal and regional histories blur through the intimate paths of tornadoes, gun violence, suburban sprawl, and the ongoing quest to escape where we come from.
“Frank … spellbinds in this shrewd collection about intimacy, salvation, and the rustic dilapidation of the American South.” –Publishers Weekly
““There’s something tenacious and fierce about this vivid book, with its spinning, Metaphysical metaphors, quick turns of line, and unpredictable, dynamic, monologues in the voices of dispossessed people and things.” -Katie Peterson
“So much happens in Morgan Frank’s intensely lyrical poems, accompanied by such subtle music and profound, often witty, meditations on love, loneliness, rapture and mortality. Sometimes We’re all Living in a Foreign Country is a beautiful book, one that asks us to see the everyday world anew, and discover in it marvelous strangeness.”–Kevin Prufer
THE SPOKES OF VENUS
Carnegie Mellon University Press (February 2016)
Paperback ISBN: 978-0887486067
Musicians, wig makers, sculptors, perfumers, choreographers, and composers all help conjure the worlds of Frank’s second collection, The Spokes of Venus. These poems offer a landscape shaped by the tensions between the act of making and the art of observing. If music and art are the sisters of poetry, this collection is a chorus–a glorious one-of siblings arguing and singing.
” These poems are full-bodied and vivacious, tensely strung, simmering with life and sharp intellect. They are complex, delicate yet jagged and ready to cut. They deny easy interpretation and are all the better for it.” ––Lisa McMurtray, The Clarion-Ledger
“By bringing poetry into conversation with art, Frank invites readers to broaden their field of vision, and Frank’s inquisitive, meditative tone makes The Spokes of Venus a pleasure to read and contemplate.” –Aza Pace, Gulf Coast
“I don’t think I’ve read a book as unapologetically metaphysical as The Spokes of Venus since Heather McHugh’s early work. One feels everywhere in these poems the force of Morgan Frank’s insistent looking, tensile, witty, fiercely cool in its appraisals: “The truth is that there’s nothing in the room but us.” Right, there we are—dead center. Frank gets it, totally: the centripetal forces that whirl us there are awesome.”–David Rivard
“The gorgeously made poems in The Spokes of Venus suggest the self-reflexivity of the beholder and the nuances of perception: the slippage between object and viewer — whether the site of scrutiny is planet or painting. The process of experiencing the world deeply, of venturing beyond the literal, beneath the surface, becomes a form of love in these brilliant meditations on process and creativity. Whether the object is painting or dance, installations or music, Frank’s elegant, cerebral poems evoke all the senses in richly condensed lines: a syntax that fibrillates with radiant linguistic spokes — insights so fresh that that one can’t help but be amazed and instructed. The austere surfaces of this eloquent work ignite the imagination and entice readers to co-create the text. Ekphrastic art should enrich or extend the work it considers: “A god can see something / that does not yet exist in the world.” Rebecca Morgan Frank’s poems have just that visionary freshness and strength: they share the power of all startlingly beautiful things. –Alice Fulton
LITTLE MURDERS EVERYWHERE
Finalist for the Kate Tuft’s Discovery Award
Salmon Poetry (February 2012)
Paperback. ISBN: 978-1-907056-89-5
This lyrical chorus of elegies tracks a contemporary city dweller’s observations of a decaying world ripe with miscommunications and the pecadillos and pitfalls of interpersonal relationships. Through wry laments for love lost, addresses to imagined ghostly figures ranging from Edna St Vincent Millay to a local carnival act who drives nails into his face, and a series of contemporary sonnets for every day “sins” such as gossip, bossiness, and lying, the central speaker grapples with the physical demise of the natural and manmade world and the threat of a more personal and permanent loss.
“As for me, I was merely an accessory.” In Rebecca Morgan Frank’s remarkable first book, the line that launches a story about feeding an injured raptor morphs hauntingly into ars poetica: “I was the dark room, the leather glove, the rope.” And in between, the countless “little murders” – the road kill, the rodents, the surplus chicks from a factory farm – that keep a red-tailed hawk alive. Captured in this parable are both the ruthless devotion to beauty and the yet-more-ruthless devotion to clear-eyed rendering that make Little Murders Everywhere an extraordinary debut. The elegant formal variations in these poems, the structuring alliterations, the density and precision of thefigurative imagination would almost suffice on their own but, wonderfully, they have no need to do so. They add up,as in all true poetry, to a way of seeing. –Linda Gregerson
“Rebecca Morgan Frank’s arresting and unflinching poems show what can still be done with the bittersweet stuff of longing that gave the art of the lyric its original reason for being. Everywhere she turns her rapt attention – pensive elegies and laments, gnomic riffs on things lost and found in the naked city, limber sonnets on nettling sins of the spirit and the flesh – she’s in her element, taking the measure of desire in language honed to a glittering edge. “Go ahead, reinvent the wheel,” one mordant poem here begins, and so she does, daring you to see another soul at the white heat with a mind and music all her own.” –David Barber