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PRIZE NEWS:  frank: sonnets by Diane Seuss wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and Yellow Rain by Mai Der Vang named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. More here

Book Title

frank: sonnets

Author 1
Diane Seuss
Poem Excerpt
Poverty, like a sonnet, is a good teacher. The kind that raps your
knuckles with a ruler but not the kind that throws a dictionary
across the room and hits you in the brain with all the words
that ever were. Boxed fathers buried deep are still fathers,
teacher says. Do without the. Without and. Without hot
dogs in your baked beans. A sonnet is a mother. Every word
a silver dollar. Shit in one hand, she says. Wish in another.
—from “[The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do]”
“The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do / without,” Diane Seuss writes in this brilliant, candid work, her most personal collection to date. These poems tell the story of a life at risk of spilling over the edge of the page, from Seuss’s working-class childhood in rural Michigan to the dangerous allures of New York City and back again. With sheer virtuosity, Seuss moves nimbly across thought and time, poetry and punk, AIDS and addiction, Christ and motherhood, showing us what we can do, what we can do without, and what we offer to one another when we have nothing left to spare. Like a series of cels on a filmstrip, frank: sonnets captures the magnitude of a life lived honestly, a restless search for some kind of “beauty or relief.” Seuss is at the height of her powers, devastatingly astute, austere, and—in a word—frank.

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A resplendent life in sonnets from the author of Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize

About the Author

Diane  Seuss
Credit: Gabrielle Montesanti
Diane Seuss is the author of five books of poetry, including frank: sonnets, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and the PEN/Voelcker Prize, and a finalist for the 2022 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award; Still Life With Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, winner of the Juniper Prize. She was a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, and in 2021 she received the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives in Michigan.
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Upcoming Events

VIRTUAL: A Pulitzer Poetry Celebration with Diane Seuss (FRANK) and Mai Der Vang (YELLOW RAIN) in conversation with Jeff Shotts, a Talk of the Stacks event presented by Friends of the Hennepin County Library

Friends of the Hennepin County Library in Minneapolis, MNview map
5:00 PM PT / 6:00 PM MT / 7:00 PM CT / 8:00 PM ET. This event is free and open to the public and will be broadcast via Zoom. Click here for more information and to register. Copies of frank: sonnets and Yellow Rain are available for purchase from Magers & Quinn Booksellers. 

VIRTUAL: Diane Seuss reading and in conversation about FRANK: SONNETS as part of the Queens Public Library's Culture Connection series

Queens Central Library in Jamaica, NYview map
4:00 PM PT / 5:00 PM MT / 6:00 PM CT / 7:00 PM ET. This event will be broadcast via YouTube and Facebook. Check back for more details and to register. 


  • “Seuss transforms ‘tragic spectacle’ into something beautiful, visionary, ‘revolting and grand.’”—The Nation
  • “Seuss is at her most moving and morally attuned…”—Harvard Review
  • “This is a writer whose pleasure in building language knocks you over and makes you feel some responsive pleasure…”—Women’s Review of Books
  • “The whole book is . . . barbed and artful, dramatizing both Seuss’s writing life and her life-life, staking out a territory for the reader to look at and admire but never to control or own.”Poetry Foundation
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