Some early reviews of Front Man

My first poetry chapbook, Front Man, is going to published by the end of the month by Big Table Publishing.  The book has already gotten a few reviews, and some of these will be posted on the back of the book as blurbs.

“Punk rock embroidered with an artist’s eye for ironies and a pop culturist’s fetish for detail, the personal life of Brian Fanelli gets the rock star treatment here, in twenty nine brutally honest renderings of his opened veins. For those who were part of the scene anywhere from the late eighties to the new millennium, these works will drop you in the mosh pit of frenzied, alienated youth. If Henry Rollins and Robert Frost collaborated, their song would sound like this.” — Christopher Reilley, autor of the forthcoming chapbook Grief Tattoos


Brian Fanelli’s Front Man traces the chronology of a lead singer’s rise into the punker limelight and his eventual return home. Throughout the book, we meet characters from the 2nd generation of the punk-rock scene such as the anonymous front man who “screamed into the mike until his throat swelled,” the girlfriend “thrashing to Johnny Ramone’s buzzsaw guitar sound,” and Eggroll Eddie who “smashed bodies in the [mosh] pit.” Fanelli’s poems bring a world to life that most of us have never inhabited: at their best, the poems delve deeply into individual scenes and find the vivid language, active syntax, and rhetorical strategies that deliver an emotionally-charged version of the punk-rock story. By book’s end, he discovers a meaningful order that highlights the tensions between generations, within the punk-rock scene itself, and within the protagonist who grows to full adulthood and trades in his Stratocaster for a teacher’s shirt and tie, for a high school gig where he’ll inspire the next generation of outliers and misfits to rise above, rise above. Open this book and prepare for a wild ride with power chords and smashed guitars, punches and combat boots to the face, mixed with pervasive nostalgia and self-knowledge that come from looking back at youth from the far side of maturity.” — Neil Shepard, editor of Green Mountains Review and author of the poetry collection This Far from the Source.

“Brian Fanelli’s Front Man is a rattling, howling, dumpster diving, beer bottle-littered romp through the punk-rock infused world of Chucks, Mohawks, bloody noses and broken jaws. But it is also a tender, sober coming-of-age poetic narrative riffed in two-minute tracks that reminds the reader how close the profane echoes the sublime—and how that echo follows us, red-eyed and alive all the way to the exit.” — Tony Morris, managing editor of Southern Poetry Review and author of the poetry collection Back to Cain.

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