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The Book of Frank
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The Book of Frank

4.51 of 5 stars 4.51  ·  rating details  ·  458 ratings  ·  58 reviews

Winner of the 2009 Gil Ott Book Award, this expanded edition of The Book of Frank features additional "Frank" poems and an essay by Eileen Myles.

Praised by poet Anne Waldman as a "voyeuresque surreal portrait," The Book of Frank is also, in the words of “candid portrayal of human cruelty and its resultant fantasies of escape."

Paperback, 176 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Wave Books (first published February 1st 2009)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
299th out of 1,464 books — 1,594 voters
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Best LGBT Poetry
8th out of 104 books — 13 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,278)
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Was reading this on BART last night and these flamboyant tourists get on and one of them has to sit by me, and he's taking flash pictures the whole trip over and over, and then he put his camera down his pants, and takes a picture, and then says "I can't believe I just did that." And I'm thinking I can't believe he just did that. I think Frank made him do it.
I sat down with this book for the first time about two hours before typing this, breaking once, to take a shower, quickly, eager to get back in there, back inside CAConrad's painfully beautiful, deeply emotional, insane and hilarious world. These poems, nearly every one, floored me, sent me reeling, warmed my soul. Conrad is not only a brilliant poet, he's a necessary one. One of those mad, lovely minds who feel this world completely in it's every facet. These poems are little love notes, penned ...more
WOW! WOW! and WOW! I needed this. I mean needed it. And that doesn't happen often. Sometimes I like books of poetry. Sometimes I love books of poetry. And sometimes, rarely, I absolutely need a book of poetry or song/album at different points/stages/times in life!!!

This is a need right now. I am alive!

Get it! If you haven't already. It is not all hype. CA Conrad must have one hell of a heart and mind.

Expansive in all the best meanings of that term. Frank. I love you!

Wow. These poems are not only fabulously surreal but downright funny at times.

And anyone who uses a cowboy here and there gets my vote:

Frank added the milk to the
Instant Cowboy Mix and
herded himself into the
living room

This is the first book I have read that comes amazingly close to doing what I've been trying to do with my poems the last three years. I'm in love.
Michelle Taransky
You are not the Frank in these poems...

Merged review:

Everytime I read these poems, I learn things about myself I didn't know before. Yesterday, The Book of Frank taught me about gardening on the moon.
(everyone by now knows that) CA Conrad is magical, but this very early book reminds us that he's been wielding this ecstatic, strange, and mischievous magic for a looong time.
The Book of Frank is what children’s books would be like if we allowed children to know what they know. Intimate, elegant, explosive, contradictory, fucked-up and beautiful.
A wonderful book..... In preparing for an interview that I did with the author I read it through 4 or 5 times and certain poems more than that.
Certain poems are truly marvelous.

If you're interested the interview's at

Dean Kritikos
Absolutely incredible. I'm reminded of _Autobiography of Red_ by Anne Carson. Conrad's book is so incredibly vivid, heart-straining, eye-opening...and, at points, very funny. Frank is innocent, I think, and the vulnerability that Conrad is able to play upon strikes a register that makes me hopeful for communication between people any/everywhere who have lived and loved (suffered)--that is, across boundaries we are accustomed to think are impossible to cross. Frank's multiplicity, which Eileen My ...more
This book is amazing! Read it at once. It will change your life. It is one of the most imaginative books I've read in years.
Why haven't you read this yet?
I first heard poems from this book before I read any of them. I listen to a lot of audio poetry and Conrad has readings recorded at PennSound, and Bomb Magazine's audio show Phoned In. His reading style compliments his poems.

The poems in the book are some of the most creative, fun, crazy, perverted I've read. They are delightful, hilarious and creepy. I love when poetry really goes over the top, and this has.

All the poems are about Frank, who some people have said is Conrad's alter ego. The poem
Paul Beimers
Nov 12, 2014 Paul Beimers rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: People who: are taken with poetry.
Clearly, I am not much one for poetry. Conrad certainly has a way with words: the imagery is oftentimes striking and powerful.

I simply do not know what is being talked about much of time. The general theme and narrative (if there is one) is easy enough to discern, but many of the verses leave me bewildered and having no idea what is occurring within them.

A quick read, thankfully. I do not appear to have the patience to pick apart and unravel Conrad's complexities, so this is a blessing.
Chris Schaeffer
I want to give this four and a half stars, because it's excellent, really funny and troubling and beautiful, but I had some itching questions about composition and ordering that gave me pause and detracted somewhat from my enjoyment. So, don't trust those four stars, because I really did greatly esteem this book. Conrad's character 'Frank' is a kind of forefather to Catie Rosemurgy's Ms. Peach, a 'polymorphousely perverse' gender-Protean whirlwind of bathos that the book, generally, follows from ...more
Richard Leis
Brilliantly surreal, queer, and often very funny. Sometimes the poems are so surreal that they are opaque to possible meanings, at least on a first reading.
Sep 27, 2011 Brian rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
even though i'm not immediately "getting" every poem, this book is rekindling my faith in poetry. that people still write it, that it is a valid means of expression, that it can be new and fresh and tell a cogent story.

saying you don't get poetry is so teenage. what does it even mean? it's sort of like you're driving down a very windy road and you're listening to the radio and the radio is broadcasting the poem. and sometimes when you round a bend, the rocks or a tree or something gets in the wa
It is so beautiful watching Frank pirouette from page to page, like a small bird-thing trapped in a phantasmagoria turned flip-book. Here's a poem I dog-eared, p. 63:

for love

Frank spoke softly
into envelopes
instead of

When I read this one my heart skipped a beat. It's like Conrad astrally-projected himself to 2006, and whispered in my ear in that dormitory down the street from the Anne Frank House, as I typed a flurry of correspondence to my friend Grace Tran about our necessarily ne
Bite-size accessibility combined with stellar continuity and cohesiveness.
Jamie Gaughran-Perez
I'm fortunate to come across so many great books and so many great writers in my life. This is poetry with a strong narrative thread pulling through it... so you'll gobble it up quickly on the first go 'round -- but you're likely to come back to it again and again. I find myself treating all the books of poetry I love like this these days.

This is full of character and plot, and it plays its way around gender and sexuality, but that's not what the book is about. This book is about living, and the
Elizabeth J.
I've read this one a half-dozen times and I like it more every time.
I love and hate this all at the same time.
This is a terrific book of poetry. One of the finest books of poems I've read from our contemporaries. Wholly original, weird, fantastic, beautiful, deeply honest, angry, true, sad, and light and lovely. It's like a sober Dream Songs, or Hart Crane written by Andy Warhol while looking at Max Ernst, or Dickinson told by Spicer and translated by Cocteau. Some modern revisionings of surrealism look silly. CAConrad's poems are surreal. But they aren't artificial. They are deep in innocence and hurt. ...more
This book is a great read!
Kymm Lg
As soon as I got this book in my hands, I sat in my car in the parking lot, fanned through the pages, stuck my finger somewhere in the middle, and read this:

Frank is sad

her dogs like him

but she doesn't

he likes her dogs

but they are

forbidden to

visit him

without her

on the street

they bark for

Frank while she

looks away

pretending they

are not an


of her joy

I sped home and devoured the book in one sitting.

Mar 11, 2011 CA rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
go to

most of this video is of me reading from The Book of Frank for POETEEVEE, click here:

poet Eileen Myles has just interviewed me about The Book of Frank for The Poetry Foundation, which you can see here:

SAMPLE POEMS from this book available here

Merged review:
Basically, a very sad, very funny, fucked up, impossible, and impossibly real fairy tale. Full of disconnected moments invariably rooted in real world reactions/feelings/interactions that do tend to meet the end of their circle within each moment. It was not possible for me to start reading it without finishing it in one sitting. A seriously memorable and addictive narrative told over three stages of a mysterious changeling's life.
Kristen Sabol
A classic - both the book and the poet - kind reminder to us all of what it means to be human - weird, ugly, distorted and beautiful as it may be at times. Frank also emulates a Simple for our times. Haunting economy of scoping.

Excuse me: I'm looking forward to CAConrad's next book! (Did I mention: props to PA poets?)
Frank dies and changes form more times than I can count. This makes sense because CAConrad captures that reality is dangerous and illogical.

"oh the burden of
nouns no
verb can budge" Frank said

"like what?" his sister asked

"corpse" he said

THE CORPSE!" she yelled

you got the corpse
moving" he said

Short lines and enjambments are mastered in this collection.
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The Book of Frank 1 6 Dec 01, 2012 09:36AM  
  • The Man Suit
  • Coeur de Lion
  • The Trees the Trees
  • Ghost Machine
  • My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry
  • The Cloud Corporation
  • In the Pines
  • Holy Land
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  • Humanimal: A Project for Future Children
  • Chronic
  • Beauty Was the Case That They Gave Me
  • Destruction Myth: Poems
  • "A"
  • This Can't Be Life
  • I Have to Go Back to 1994 and Kill a Girl: Poems
  • Snowflake / different streets
CAConrad is the author of TRANSLUCENT SALAMANDER (TROLL THREAD, 2013), A BEAUTIFUL MARSUPIAL AFTERNOON: New (Soma)tics (WAVE, 2012), The Book of Frank (WAVE, 2010), Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull, 2009), Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull, 2006), and a collaboration with poet Frank Sherlock titled The City Real & Imagined (Factory School, 2010). He is a 2011 PEW Fellow, a 2012 UCROSS Fellow, an ...more
More about CA Conrad...
A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics Deviant Propulsion Advanced Elvis Course (Soma)tic Midge The Frank Poems

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“I’m here for the show” the man said
looking under Frank’s shirt for the door

“I’m no theater” Frank said

a line formed

must he admit them all?

many had umbrellas

a blind woman
waited with
her dog

“it’s gonna be a great show” someone said
“but when’s he gonna let us in?”

Frank’s tears began to fall

someone ripped his doors open

they filled him for an hour”
“In a world of watered-down bestsellers and formula novels, Hitching to Nirvana eases back just enough to show the blade which cuts the real open, then bolts forward again, giving us a charged, swerving dance to self-actualization. Hitching to Nirvana is a magnetic forcefield, not just pulling us beautifully into the story, but into our own lives. It's rare when a writer can open the shared world with such a deft, personal touch. Janet Mason is a genius.” 3 likes
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