frank: sonnets by Diane Seuss

March 2021
Reviewed by Christie Hodgen, Editor-in-Chief, New Letters

This collection of sonnets hits hard. The terrain covered here spans a life, from childhood to young adulthood to motherhood to middle-age, from addiction to AIDS to art, all of it hard won and hard fought. But there is so much beauty here. The poems themselves, proverbial diamonds in the rough. All through the collection are images that startle, notions that strike you as surprising and yet irrefutable. These poems are a triumph, all the more impressive because the reader senses the cost of living, and then rendering these experiences. We sometimes resist a book when it has been praised so often, as this one has, but in this case, I’m reminded of a line from the book: Don’t worry, I’ve paid. Seuss has already done the work, served the time, and whatever praise comes now is not only earned but overdue. This collection deserves its place in the spotlight.