In FRANK DARK, philosophical and psychological investigation plumb many forms of tangible and visceral experience. The collection engages the environmental crisis, the pandemic, and
historical and current turmoil. At once a death story and a love story, it probes the darker
corners of seasons, dreams, and journeys through various landscapes among creatures of
the earth, sea, and air. Massimilla frankly confronts the scourges of alienation, blindness, blight, injury, addiction, sickness, suicide, death, grief, and underworld ghosts. Out of this deeply unsettled night come vision, compassion, love, and conscious reflections on the nature of perception, identity, reality, and writing itself.
In FRANK DARK, Stephen Massimilla offers us visions of light breaking through, even as ‘winter’s darkness closes in behind our backs.’ The poet exults in the runic power of words to wrest luminosity from the veiled surface, to chart the ‘heart’s weather,’ and to bear epiphanic witness to the ‘doe browsing in spun mist.’ Thus, we are compelled to follow Massimilla, a siren of language, an intoxicator, into his realm of beauty and sadness by a brilliance of thought and a radiance of emotion—at once sensual, playful, spacious, compassionate, heartbreaking. These stunning poems, these daring visions, dazzle.” — Emily Fragos
“In his new collection, FRANK DARK, Massimilla pens stark and striking landscapes whose very presence seems enchanting and impossible. Here, Massimilla lavishes attention not only on harbors and harvests, but also on details as fine as the ‘gasping ragman of shadow hovered / memory-thin between magnesium lamps.’ A superb collection.” —KYLE Mccord
In FRANK DARK, we are granted sudden and sustained access to the intimate conversation
of Earth with History. Frond and fish, heron and horizon all account for themselves in lucent encounter with humanness and with the troubled human record. Stephen Massimilla moves far beyond social discourse, into a deeper, communal understanding of language and its fate. That love may be a portion of that fate is a hope these poems cherish beyond words.” —Donald Revell
In his astonishing new collection, FRANK DARK, Stephen Massimilla graphs...shifting phantasmagoria, investigating how and whether the ‘self’ might cohere.... By turns winking and melancholic, modernist in ambition but radically contemporary in sensibility... suggesting reading and writing alike as exercises in scripting ourselves.... One hears Stevens here, or Rimbaud, ...but more than this, one hears Massimilla, a master of associative fabulism, darkly frank, finely registering, across this collection, that tide-like flux of impressions in which, as he insistently reminds us, we ‘haven’t gone under yet.’ This is a marvelous book.” —Christopher Kempf
Stephen Massimilla is a poet, painter, professor, author, and editor, most recently of the 2022 social justice poetry anthology, Stronger Than Fear. His multi-genre Cooking with the Muse (Tupelo Press, 2016) won the Eric Hoffer Award and many others. Previous books and honors include The Plague Doctor in His Hull-Shaped Hat (SFASU Press Prize); Forty Floors from Yesterday (Bordighera Prize, CUNY); the Grolier Poetry Prize; a scholarly study of myth in poetry; and award-winning translations. His work appears in hundreds of publications. Massimilla holds an MFA and a PhD from Columbia University and teaches at Columbia University and The New School.