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“With Friar Fred‘s Diary, poet Jim Gustafson has created a friar for the ages, one sure to join Lippo Lippi and Lawrence in the literary canon. The world and mind of the modern-day mendicant spring to life as Gustafson showers his Friar Fred with affectionate irony, humor, and incisive insight. We suffer with him through his meditations and doubts, revel in his revelations and join him in his journey to the Holy Land and Portugal. The Teddy Bear tucked beneath his mattress and the fly painted over on his wall are but two of the unforgettable moments in the diary. But be warned! Like Frito-Lay chips, you won’t be able to stop reading until you’ve devoured every one of the thirty-five entries in Friar Fred’s Diary.”

~ Joe Pacheco, Sanibel’s Joe’s Songbook and Alligator in the Sky

Friar Fred's Diary

  •  “How rarely we might glance at those who choose to live the cloistered life of the monk. But, in Friar Fred’s Diary, readers are given the opportunity to not only look but to experience that life. In this unflinchingly honest collection, the daily activities of the devoted intersect with the life not chosen, half-lived in dreams where the narrator ‘would rather ride a bus to a busy mall and walk among the people’ than consider the paradise offered at death. Friar Fred’s reality becomes our own, with his quirky nature revealed in such moments when he paints over a fly in his cell, eternally entombing it, imagining his own future death where he will see ‘the unconfessed flaw.’ A zealot to the purity of language, Jim Gustafson masterfully evokes the many paths not taken, while never letting us forget the ‘masks behind which a man can hide his truth.’”

    ~ Lori Cornelius, MFA, Department of Language and Literature, Florida Gulf Coast University

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