Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope, Frank Montesonti


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Barrow Street 2011 Prize Winner

Frank Montesonti’s wit reminds me of the Depression, when all the great novelists wrote dialogue for movies. He can be as glib as the blonde bomb-shell in a 1930s suspense film or as deadpan as the morose sidekick. Not only will he help dump the body, he’ll add the necessary wry comment. ‘It was a very good year *long pause+ for the wine.’ Or, better still, ‘I need to tell you something before it’s too late:/It’s too late.’ When the speaker in one poem is asked what a poem should be like, all of his examples include piranhas. In-deed, the dangers of the world are presented as an integral part of a grand comedy. ‘You see, I’m after what’s behind the low-budget scene,’ he writes in ‘Film Noir.’ And, despite all the tricks and effects and zingers, that ingenious mind at work is also revealing the clown’s sadness. That, too, is part of the show. The part where he is one of us.
—D.A. Powell


Frank Montesonti is the author of the chapbook A Civic Pageant (Black Lawrence Press, 2009). He has been published in literary journals such as Tin House, Black Warrior Review, AQR, Poet Lore, and Poems and Plays, among many others. Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope is his first full-length collection. His second collection,Hope Tree, is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in 2014. He has an MFA from the University of Arizona and teaches poetry at National University. A longtime resident of Indiana, he now lives in Los Angeles, California.