The Black River Chapbook Competition Winner


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ISBN: 978-1-934703-74-8

A Civic Pageant

Publication Date: June 2009


Winner of the Spring 2007 Black River Chapbook Competition

A Civic Pageant is a pageant of the emotional history of the self. In language as large, colorful and weightless as floats, the poems in A Civic Pageant reflect on the civics of our selves-the duty we hold to experience and emotion. They praise and lament how we must parade these obligations in front of us-always part leader of the parade, always part hopeless spectator.


“Frank Montesonti’s poems deconstruct a narrative of longing for grandeur in the ordinary. They are in constant motion, like “small blue tornadoes in [his] eyes” and gaining momentum always. If there were an easy way, Frank “has the legal right to shoot it and ask questions later.”

-James Meetze

“Montesonti’s pageant is more living diorama than contest-it’s a winter Midwest cityscape of blackouts and drunk dreaming. So, it is a pageant actually-but in place of pomp and heroics, Montensonti’s threaded that contradictory portent: a yearning to disappear from your hometown only to be lifted over it, reviewing what’s really there and now no longer your own. Funny, sad, and then funnily sad again and again.”

-Joshua Marie Wilkinson

“Reading Frank Montesonti’s poems is like finding a human heart in a gleaming grocery aisle. He discovers difficult glory in the most plastic of places; he blasts apart the overlooked, everyday architecture protecting our most precious things. In one stanza, his startling declarations warn us against the sweet, slippery danger of dreams, but in the next he’s built us a beautiful, giant dream machine.”

-Sommer Browning

About the Author

Frank Montesonti

FRANK MONTESONTI is the author of two collections of poems from Black Lawrence Press: the book of poetic erasure, Hope Tree (H>ow To P>rune >Fruit Tree>s), and the chapbook A Civic Pageant, winner of the 2007 Black River Chapbook Contest. His first full-length collection Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope was the winner of the 2012 Barrow Street Book Contest. He has been published in literary journals such as Tin House, Black Warrior Review, AQR, Poet Lore, and Poems and Plays, among many others. He has an MFA from the University of Arizona and teaches poetry at National University. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

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