The Monstrance by Bryan D. Dietrich
The Monstrance by Bryan D. Dietrich
Print ISBN-13: 978-1-926912-97-4
Editor: Jodi Lee
Publisher: Needfire Poetry
Cover Price: $10.99
Order Direct: Createspace
E-book ISBN-13: 978-1-926912-98-1
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Kindle ISBN-13: 978-1-926912-99-8
The Monstrance, Bryan D. Dietrich’s sixth book of poems, is a love story. Set in the world of James Whale’s 1931 film version of Frankenstein, these poems document the lives and loves of a monster and a gypsy, a huffy hunchback, a lame priest, and the not-so-mad scientist himself. What begins with test tubes and Tesla coils ends in grace and graveyard picnics. Heartwarming and horrifying, love itself is resurrected here and set striding, a lost creature, livid and longing, but never alone.
What they’re saying about Prime Directive:
“I’d highly recommend checking out The Monstrance, or really, anything that Bryan D. Dietrich has written. His voice in the field of poetry is not only a talented one, but also unique in its tone and approach. I challenge anyone to read one of his books and not come away impressed.”
—Max Ingram, Rabid Dog Press
“The Monstrance made me revisit everything I ever thought I knew about the legacy of Frankenstein, and Dietrich’s musings—remarkably—made it all even better. I dare say this book sparks the creature back to life in a fresh and novel way! And what a rewarding experience it is to read this book: each poem presents a cascading fountain of uncanny images and sublime encounters, raising potent questions about life and death with virtually every line. As is always the case with Dietrich’s work, the poetry here is built of well-forged language that’s been shaped and pounded perfect by the hammer of the master craftsman. This book is a foundry of the fantastic. And it’s exactly what I look for when I crack open a book of poetry: a serious, concentrated study that fearlessly goes places I never would have thought to go on my own, led by a writer I trust to encapsulate the experience in words and ways I never could. Bravo!”
—Michael Arnzen, author of Proverbs for Monsters
“In thirty-seven poems that embody a narrative, Bryan Dietrich creates a fascinating extrapolation from the Frankenstein mythos. Rich in detail, diverse and meditative, shot through with beauty, pain, and compassion, the language in this collection shines. With The Monstrance, Dietrich continues to emerge as one of the leading voices in contemporary dark poetry.”
—Bruce Boston, author of Dark Matters
“Come along on a cross country carnival trip in the gypsy’s van. Be an unseen party to a passionate affair with her lover-freak, for this is their story. In the passage, you may wonder who is the real monster. Who, or what? Dietrich leaves that to you. Sections outstanding are exquisitely framed to provide glimpses of life and death through the eyes of the Monster, his lover, his creator.
—Marge Simon, author of Vectors: A Week in the Death of a Planet
“Bryan D. Dietrich is a beast! Weaving between permutations of the Frankenstein tale and other iconic monsters from literature and film, The Monstrance manages to find the sublime in the souls of these creatures. Elevating these figures just enough out of pop culture to teach us something about our human condition, Dietrich creates a fresh take not only on our favorite monsters that we love to love, but also on the strangeness of life as we experience it. Dietrich is a ‘master mind.’”
—A. Van Jordan, author of Quantum Lyrics
“Bryan Dietrich’s The Monstrance is a sacred meditation on the making of monsters—those we see on screen and those inside ourselves. At the center of the book is Frankenstein’s Monster—everyman and, literally, every man, stitched together from the dead we must become—yet, in Dietrich’s hands, horror guides us to much more: a tale of thwarted family ties, a reflection on what’s human, and a love story that accommodates forgiveness and transcendence. The Monstrance resonates with its literary kin: Adam’s origin in Genesis, Beauty and the Beast, the Jewish legend of the golem, and, of course, the story of Christ. Near-mute and nameless, the Monster is once more resurrected—this time, by a poet of dazzling skill and vision. Bryan Dietrich’s newest book, wide-ranging and humane, offers the Monster’s most compelling recent incarnation.”
—Ned Balbo, author of The Trials of Edgar Poe and Other Poems
Come. I’d like to ask you about fear,
about the nature of obsession.
Look, see that kid, scalpel in hand,
the bright, corpse and kite-crazed, pre-frocked teen
you thought you were before you woke up
here, in the middle of everything
you might have dreamed of? Is he really
you, and is this what you thought of, then,
when you rode those Gentuan roads
rain had claimed for river beds of tar?
Late summer, nights, driving back from some
town, when you crafted playful monsters
from each pale swell exploding along
horizons, from each touch of greatness
lightning teased from air, when each brief glimpse
down that black road only frightened you
more for the shadow that fell between
clarities, when you watched white birch bark,
limbs, flash in parceled-out rhythm past
the wagon—well, is what you have now
what he saw in those moments of light?
Or have you, as you pushed on toward
some home beyond the next slow rise, been
obsessed with blindness, with that long walk
in swaying timber where what you fear
is not behind you in a corner
of the fog, but there, ahead of you,
in a clearing like a tree aflame—
the directive of the ozone’s arced
finger? Don’t be frightened. Go ahead,
tell yourself this. Then live as best you can
between onslaughts of the divine.
Bryan D. Dietrich is the author of a book-length study on comics, Wonder Woman Unbound, and six books of poems: Krypton Nights, Universal Monsters, Prime Directive, Love Craft, The Assumption, and The Monstrance. He is also co-editor of Drawn to Marvel, the world’s first anthology of superhero poetry.
He has published poems in The New Yorker, The Nation, Poetry, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Paris Review, The Harvard Review, Yale Review, Shenandoah, Open City, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Witness, Weird Tales, and many other journals. Having won The Paris Review Poetry Prize, a “Discovery”/The Nation Award, a Writers at Work Fellowship, the Isotope Editors’ Prize, an Asimov’s Reader’s Choice Award, a Rhysling Award, and the Eve of St. Agnes Prize, Bryan is a five-time finalist for the Yale Younger Poets Series and has been nominated multiple times for both the Pushcart and the Pulitzer.
Professor of English at Newman University, Bryan grew up watching classic horror movies and dreaming of becoming a comic book artist. He remains conflicted about choosing a tenure-track job over a chance to be an extra in Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, but is comforted by several facts: the first person to be abducted in Aliens is named Dietrich, the composer for the original Mummy was named Dietrich, and the Kecksburg UFO incident occurred in December of 1965, just before Bryan was born. Further inferences are welcome.
Bryan lives in Wichita, Kansas with his wife Gina and their son, Nick.
You can visit Bryan’s website at: http://www.bryandietrich.com