frank: sonnets by Dianne Suess is a collection of poetry which contemplates poverty, relationships, illness, drug abuse, womanhood, and death. The largest focus of the sonnets is Suess’ friend Mikel, who died from HIV/AIDS. It is a heartbreaking and moving collection with poems that aren’t afraid to be themselves. Suess discusses her son’s addiction, Mikel’s pustules, being working class, all in succent and relatable ways. The collection is obsessed with death, seen here, “The problem with sweetness is death. The problem/with everything is death.” To Suess, it is all consuming, through the lens of a friend, a mother, and a daughter. In the final poem of the collection, Suess aches to be loved, and to find meaning in the loss. The poems are lyrical, strong, and deeply personal.
Final Rating: 4/5
Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.