Thursday, February 18, 2010


This new book by Frank Reardon might be the definition of either you love it, or you hate it. When I first got the manuscript I sent it to one of my trusted reviewers for his opinions and this is what I got back:

"I really don't like Reardon's stuff - I find it lazy, indulgent and conceited at best and sub-Kerouac (literally) meaningless at worst. I've no desire to write a hatchet job but the more I read the more irritated I get; I'd end up trashing it. I guess I feel about Frank's work the way he feels about Chaucer's."

Hmmm, so the first reviewer couldn't even write the review he disliked it so much. Then I sent the book to a second reviewer who had this response. 

"I really don't need more books in my life and I certainly don't need more poetry but I am adding this poetry collection to my wish list at amazon because it's a visceral read. I want to stain the pages with my tears and menstrual blood and sticky fingers. I want to carry Frank's words with me when I hop on a Greyhound bus to Fiji. I want to scream,"I want a glass in my hand that smiles like the ice cream man..." (my favorite line in the book, the last line of Tiny Pieces of Forced Oblivion) at any stranger who looks at me funny. Okay, I'm being goofy and crazy and gross but this is just to drive home a couple of points. One: I suck at reviews! Two: I love this book! "

So, the second reviewer absolutely LOVED it. 

I think the truth must lie somewhere between the opinions of the two reviewers. Frank's work is his own and he is writing with swift feeling. The poems are full of reflection and an honesty that is the hallmark of much of his prolific writing. There is little poetic finesse, but there are many clever phrases that stay in mind long after the poem has passed. The poems are thick, they have weight, and the book holds together well as a collection, always staying true to his underlying themes. Finally, to have evinced such strong responses from two separate readers must say something about the book. He certainly inspires a reaction. 


reviewed by deo