paper • 80 pages • 15.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-935536-61-1

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The Opposite of People

Patrick Ryan Frank

The poems in The Opposite of People examine the place of television and cinema in our lives, the tangling of psychology and popular media.  In these poems, the poet questions how the imagination can be given shape in films and songs, and how those in turn shape our imaginations, for better or worse.  How much of ourselves have we taken from the movies? Does the screen reflect our feelings, or do we reflect the screen’s? Within this collection, we see our lives reflected in artistry and artifice: contrived but desperately earnest.

“Makeover”, from The Opposite of People:

I’m only this, and this is not enough.
Because each body is an accident.
Because my body is the opposite

of mystery, and yet I cannot solve
myself. I will not know until I’m shown.
Because I want to step into a life

as a wealthy woman steps into a store.
Because the fountain’s full of coins already,
and the escalator doesn’t pause its glide

upward into grace. I will be more
than what I seem. My heels on the marble floor
will sound like every door in hell thrown wide.

Praise by A. Van Jordan
Praise by Rosanna Warren
Praise by Mark Wunderlich
Praise from Kenyon Review

“Patrick Ryan Frank offers a view of the heart through the lens of television, film, and even the stage that–when we see our lives projected through his pen, when we find that we’re as naked as the audience we imagine before us–leaves us, somehow, both vulnerable to the voyeur and emboldened by Frank’s direction of our lives. There’s not only empathy but also wisdom between the pages of The Opposite of People, and there’s also the ‘inner music that words make,’ as put by Truman Capote, who shows us here for a dance with Marilyn Monroe. I promise you that if you spend time with these poems and just watch carefully for ‘long enough…you’ll learn a thing or two / about yourself. Not the obvious….'” – A. Van Jordan

“‘About violence they were never wrong,/ the old cartoons…’ Steeped in Auden, Patrick Ryan Frank has written an Age of Anxiety for our age. His wry, cool, sinister, keenly intelligent poems probe the pathos of our world of semblances. In soap operas, horror movies, and commercials, he reads our baffled desires and stunted myths, the destiny in which ‘No one / lives beyond the planet of himself,’ no matter how much we pay or play. Frank is a maestro of disillusion.” – Rosanna Warren

“In The Opposite of People, we find a speaker sitting in the glow of the lit screen–be it small or large–and wondering how the dramatic portrayals of fictional lives mirror or mask the inner life of the viewer. In his exciting new collection, Patrick RYan Frank considers what it means to watch the world in its many portrayels–imagined, interpreted, illumined–and asks what is false, what is authentic in the lives we come to know that are not really lives at all.” — Mark Wunderlich

“…C’mon, tune in—this is smarter and more entertaining than that reality show you’re streaming.” — Kenyon Review Read the full review here.