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ISBN: 978-1-937854-35-5
Categories Poetry

Hope Tree

Publication Date: July 2013


Hope Tree is a book of poetic erasure. It was created by erasing words from a manual titled How to Prune Fruit Trees. By pruning back the language of the original source, this collection creates lyric poems of loss and longing.


“Training, cutting, removing: the language of Hope Tree in Frank Montesonti’s erasure moves through the seasons: ‘very little can / be done / cutting / spring from the inside,’ he writes. From a book on the pruning of fruit trees, in which a certain amount of killing is inevitable, Montesonti crafts a book about mortal lives, in which ‘an imaginary circle / drawn around / the future’ may take us only ‘halfway between the end / without further / pruning.’ In this book of instruction and wry observation, carefully gleaned from the vocabulary and metaphor of the orchard, Montesonti has found a way to tell grave truths.”

-Janet Holmes

Every erasure uncovers, we all know this-and we know that properly pruned trees bear more fruit. The pared-down language in Frank Montesonti’s Hope Tree reveals and multiplies meaning. What begins as a meditation on seasons and orchards becomes a poetic treatise on the cultural frameworks we construct and inhabit daily, the frameworks we use to discipline ourselves and others. bearing fruit requires cutting and burning, and Hope Tree questions the cost of both act and metaphor: ‘the bush method, / this system is extremely simple / the main thing to remember // take advantage.'”

-K. Lorraine Graham

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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