Matthew G. Frank
Matthew Gavin Frank is the author of “Barolo” (The University of Nebraska Press), a food memoir based on his illegal work in the Italian wine industry, and “Pot Farm” (The University of Nebraska Press / Bison Books), about his time working on a medical marijuana farm in Northern California. His new book, “Preparing the Ghost: An Essay Concerning the Giant Squid and the Man Who First Photographed It” is forthcoming from W.W. Norton: Liveright. His poetry collection, “The Morrow Plots,” is available from Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc Books. His poetry book, “Sagittarius Agitprop” is available from Black Lawrence Press/Dzanc Books. His new poetry book, “Warranty in Zulu” is available from Barrow Street Press. He is also the author of the chapbooks “Four Hours to Mpumalanga” (Pudding House Publications), a poetry sequence about his initial visit to his wife’s homeland in rural South Africa, and “Aardvark” (West Town Press), a poetry sequence that strangely engages the alphabet.Recent work appears in The New Republic, Field, Epoch, The Huffington Post, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, The Iowa Review, The Poetry Foundation, North American Review, Pleiades, The Best Food Writing and The Best Travel Writing anthologies, Creative Nonfiction, Gastronomica, Plate Magazine, and others.
To research “Barolo” Frank spent six months in Barolo, Italy (pop. 646), living out of a tent in the garden of the local Pittatore farmhouse.Through the Pittatore family, he was able to secure work picking wine grapes for famed vintner Luciano Sandrone.Through Sandrone, Frank developed relationships with the region’s families, restaurateurs, butchers, vintners, local foodstuffs, odd markets, and circus-like atmosphere in experiences both gustatory and death-defying.
Matthew Gavin Frank was born and raised in Chicago.Bitten by the food, wine, and travel bug, he left home at age seventeen, embracing the vagabond lifestyle that often lent itself to work in the restaurant industry.He ran a tiny breakfast joint in Juneau, Alaska, worked the Barolo wine harvest in Italy’s Piedmont, sautéed hog snapper hung-over in Key West, designed multiple degustation menus for Julia Roberts’s private parties in Taos, New Mexico, served as a sommelier for Chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand in Chicago, and assisted Chef Charlie Trotter with his Green Kitchen cooking demonstration at the Slow Food Nation 2008 event in San Francisco.He returned to academia and received his MFA in Poetry and Creative Nonfiction from Arizona State University.He taught creative writing to undergraduates in Phoenix, Arizona, and poetry to soldiers and their families near Fort Drum in upstate New York on the Canadian border.
Frank is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, an Artist’s Grant to the Vermont Studio Center, the Sonoran Prize for Poetry, and numerous grants from the Virginia G. Piper Center for the Creative Arts.Presently, he teaches creative writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
His current favorite dessert recipe is Revisionist Caprese Salad: Basil Ice Cream, Mozzarella Syrup, Oven-Dried Sweet Tomato, and Tomato Rock Candy.