Honeysuckle & Nightshade Cover Art by Brennan DeFrisco

Honeysuckle & Nightshade, the sophomore collection from Bay Area poet Brennan DeFrisco, will officially be released May 9, 2023, under Swimming With Elephants Publications newest imprint, Hella Poetry.

This collection follows the themes of DeFrisco’s debut collection, A Heart With No Scars (Nomadic Press, 2015) — seeking hope and discovering joy in a world that doesn’t always make space for taking time to tend to our own personal “heart gardens.” Honeysuckle & Nightshade is a collection of poems that centers joy, healing, and hope while navigating the sweet & dangerous blooms that grow in the garden of Love.

Honeysuckle & Nightshade includes spoken word favorite, “Amazing,” which was featured by Poet Laureate Kim Shuck for San Francisco Public Library’s Poem-A-Day series, and “A List of Unreliable Narrators,” published by Drunk In A Midnight Choir.

Advance Praise

Banner Image for Honeysuckle and Nightshade by Brennan DeFrisco

I feel Brennan in the DNA. Everything he says makes an impact, like what an anvil would sound like if it could recite poetry.

– Juan Felipe Herrera, United States Poet Laureate

Brennan DeFrisco’s writing moves you, literally and literarily. He is, at once, wholly accessible and devastatingly profound, dropping truths like divebombs on your heart. Reading his work is what it is like to be simultaneously uplifted and utterly floored, and glad about both.

Nazelah Jamison, Author of Evolutionary Heart

This is a collection of honey sweet images and piercing flesh lyricism. The poems are bouquets that have intertwined stems, blooms grown from endless eyes, bourbon with ginger and lime, and silent bites. Every line of every poem is addicting. DeFrisco’s collection grows a garden in the imagination, leaving us filled with flowers.

Jane Rebecca-Cannarella, Author of Thirst & Frost

What is most striking about Brennan’s writing is not just the vivid narratives, not just the compelling layout of the work on the page, but that, even where resolve and acceptance is difficult, he exudes so much damned hope.

Billy Tuggle, Writer / Performer / Homie

I love the feeling of discovering a recipe for a meal I know I will enjoy eating: collecting ingredients, inviting friends whom I know will enjoy it with me, the hours leading up to them arriving to an equally steamy me & kitchen, followed by the sheer enjoyment of food & camaraderie. The poems herein, somehow, do all of that. I feel like a lucky guest who has just finished a glorious meal with my steamy friend, Brennan DeFrisco.

Mighty Mike McGee, National Poetry Slam Champion