forthcoming from Four Way Books
in October 2015
Patrick Ryan Frank offers a view of the heart through the lens of television, film and even the stage that—when we see our lives projected through his pen, when we find that we’re as naked as the audience we imagine before us—leaves us, somehow, both vulnerable to the voyeur and emboldened by Frank’s direction of our lives. There’s not only empathy but also wisdom between the pages of The Opposite of People, and there’s also the ‘inner music that words make,’ as put by Truman Capote, who shows up here for a dance with Marilyn Monroe. I promise you that if you spend time with these poems and just watch carefully for ‘long enough…you’ll learn a thing or two / about yourself. Not the obvious….’
‘About violence they were never wrong, / the old cartoons…’ Steeped in Auden, Patrick Ryan Frank has written an Age of Anxiety for our age. His wry, cool, sinister, keenly intelligent poems probe the pathos of our world of semblances. In soap operas, horror movies, and commercials, he reads our baffled desires and stunted myths, the destiny in which ‘No one / lives beyond the planet of himself,’ no matter how much we pay or play. Frank is a maestro of disillusion.
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Four Way Books, 2012
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George Eliot once remarked ‘that the quickest of us walk about well-wadded with stupidity.’ In How the Losers Love What’s Lost, Patrick Ryan Frank has assembled an incredible array of speakers who are continually hurt into levels of awareness not available to the ‘well-wadded’ winners among us, levels of awareness that transform defeat into artful victories of unforgettable insight. While disappointment, deprivation, disconnection, and vulnerability provide the occasion for many of these poems, their underlying subject is human fallibility and the need for empathy in our dealings with each other and ourselves. This is a beautiful book, and Patrick Ryan Frank is one of the best young poets I’ve come across in many years.
...one of the most empathetic, structurally-polished, and fully-realized collections of contemporary poetry in recent memory...These poems are a body of narratives, and their connective tissue is loss. Frank honors these losses with reverent attentiveness...The losers we discover here are given voices whose timbre, content, and strength redeem their individual losses. And while the stories divulged within this impressive book are what display how the losers love what’s lost, Frank’s mastery of language and his attention to empathy give those losers authority and grace.
Patrick Ryan Frank is a poet of noteworthy talent, whose poetry is affecting, and impossible to forget. How the Losers Love What’s Lost is an important collection and a brilliant accomplishment.