THE BOOK: Willingly.
PUBLISHED IN: 2019
THE AUTHOR: Marc Frazier.
THE PUBLISHER: Adelaide Books, New York.
SUMMARY: My full-length manuscript Willingly is my third book of poetry. It explores the ramifications of one’s search for identity within and without the bonds of a relationship. It is centered on the many manifestations of “narrative.” For it is always, it seems, a story we are telling no matter the form or type of poetry. One line demonstrates this: “One way or another we make the stories fit.” It is the story of one LGBTQ+ individual. The epigraph to the book is also indicative of one of the major themes in the book: “We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.” —Anais Nin.
THE BACK STORY: This book took longer than my other two books to assemble. It’s a bit unusual but nearly every poem in this book was first published in an online or print journal, so I was very busy submitting poetry while considering a new book. I also had taken an online poetry course which had some very unusual ideas for poem generation. This was in keeping with my trend in recent work toward experimentation. I have also been writing a memoir for a few years. One poem, “synopsis” tells the story of my entire life. The manuscript came together quite naturally as an experimental expression of “see things as we are.”
WHY THIS TITLE?: There is a poem “Willingly” in my book Willingly. I really prefer one-word titles so I thought it was a good way to express a kind of positivity toward life from the title onward.
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? It contains such a varied display of poetic expression and types of poetry. The poems fall on a broad spectrum from formal poetry to highly experimental. It also tells a story which I think is important, the whole amalgam of what narrative provides us. One line in a poem says, “One way or another, we make the stories fit.” It does deal with an LGBTQ individual but only occasionally is that really significant to a poem. I think people will be surprised by the breadth of types of poetry it contains.
“Frazier illumines the darkest corners of memory, bearing apt witness to remembered experience with uncommon clarity and sureness, each poem a gem cut and polished to a fierce brightness. In poem after poem, he insists on uncovering the radiance buried beneath the questions, with words that live, breathe, and “lean like leaves toward light.” — Angela Narciso Torres, orres, author of Blood Orange, grand prize winner for poetry, Willow Books.
“These are poems grounded in a personal narrative yet also stretching the boundaries of that form; they are imbued with a larger awareness of how the “collage longs for the whole picture.” With quiet, lucid observation, deceptive even with their ease and straightforwardness, Frazier’s poems reconsider personal history and the shaping force of recollection. The poems too, after the reader closes the book, will become a thing of memory and like any important memory—potent, deeply embedded, and informing the reader’s now.” – Suzanne Parker, author of Viral, Lambda Literary Award Finalist.
“A strength of this large-hearted book that insists on the power and efficacy of the tactile is how ably the poet journeys beyond his cogently-rendered Midwestern roots. Frazier’s poems are often rich with striking and dynamic questions and the result is often refreshingly human, urgent, and disarming.” – Cyrus Cassells, author of The Gospel of Wild Indigo.”
Link to a review of my book by Windy City Reviews: http://windycityreviews.org/book-reviews/2019/3/31/book-review-willingly.html#entry36171212
AUTHOR PROFILE: Marc Frazier has been publishing poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, English Journal, Ascent, BlazeVox, and Poet Lore for decades. He is a former public high school teacher who struggled to find time to write and publish. He loves hanging out at coffee shops where he navigates the creative and business aspects of writing. Memoir excerpts from his book manuscript WITHOUT have been published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre, Cobalt Magazine, Evening Street Review, Adelaide Literary Magazine, and Punctuate. A poetry folio was accepted for the Aeolian Harp Series: Anthology of Poetry Folios Volume Three in 2017 (Glass Lyre Press). The poem “What Lies Hidden” was chosen for inclusion in New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press). Marc, the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry, has been featured on Verse Daily and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His first book The Way Here (Aldrich Press) is available on Amazon as well as a second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press) which was favorably reviewed. The leader of numerous writing workshops in the Chicago area and participant in numerous poetry readings, Marc has had writing residencies at Vermont Studio Center and the Ragdale Foundation in addition to publishing poetry book reviews and editing literary publications. Marc is a reader for the creative nonfiction journal Hippocampus, a well-known and respected publication that also sponsors the conference HippoCamp each summer. He serves on the board of NewTown Writers, possibly the longest continual LGBTQ+ writing workshop and publishing venue in the nation, which began in the early 1980’s. Marc is active on social media, particularly Facebook. His website is www.marcfrazier.org.
IF IT COMES TO THAT
Every day you have less reason/not to give yourself away
Each thing like something else:
the body: vessel as metaphor,
its manifest of parts.
Eyes: blue reach of water.
Your body chopping wood—a boastful ship.
Alert, you are a seagull tracking fish.
The arc of a dolphin when you stretch.
Swell of breath—what carries us through.
The pull of horizon.
Your scent: loam in a plowed fi eld.
Sorrow heavy as the stones of cairns.
Crooked path to the old forest.
What did you mean: this shattered hope?
Do we fit in this landscape?
In the deafening dusk do I fit in us?
a sudden implosion and then nothing
but tunnels covered in bone dust
a hawk with a human grin looks down
as I pick up coins I’d buried in childhood
they smell of oak/smoke/pumpkin seed/
my mother’s hands showed how much she worried
the form of her fears a tiny beast: black and shiny/
tops of wheat wave as the wind shifts clouds
and the moon comes out prematurely/
the dying sun is a month’s worth of blood
smoothed on canvas/hillside in shadow/black stamens
alert, petals a yellow warmth/birdcall blooms—
waves of sound—a refrain evoking prayer/earth an edifice—
its backbone a witness—a barnful of solitude/your unholy
absence an artifact/we could not save us/gather the sea
faithful angels, the yellow stars/it is time I become who I am
mother threatens to kill me
during the seventh month of my life
great uncle John and my dad
haul her screaming and clawing
into the car for the trip to Mercyville
father left with three children to soothe
mother is admitted for insulin and
after her return
father discovers how deep
her resentment can go how impossible
to resume except for their duty
to have more children
I am an altar boy
family and the Church
I have to survive my father
a difficult battle to win
I live as a person
the religious youth
and the man
my fragile self fueled
by porn alcohol
and a woman
I’d always been in love with
from the farmland
to the coastal waters
where I finally
fit into myself.
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Adelaide Books, Indiebound, Barnes and Noble.
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: firstname.lastname@example.org, Marc Frazier Author on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/poetmarcfrazier/, Twitter: @marcfrazier45.