Small Town Kid by Frank Prem // Review, Interview, Giveaway

Frank Prem

AUGUST 26, 2019

Paperback: 104 pages
Publisher:   Wild Arancini Press (November 22, 2018)
ISBN-10:  0975144235
Genre: Biography/Autobiography/Memoir
Buy On: Amazon


Small Town Kid is the experience of regional life as a child, in an insular town during the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, remote from the more worldly places where life really happens, in a time before the internet and the online existence of social media.

It is a time when a small town boy can walk a mile to school and back every day, and hunt rabbits with his dog in the hours of freedom before sundown. He can hoard crackers for bonfire night and blow up the deputy school master’s mailbox in an act of joyous rebellion.

A time when a small town teenager will ride fourteen miles on a bicycle for his first experience of girls, and of love. A time when migrating from a foreign country to a small town means his family will always feel that they are strangers, while visitors to the town are treated like an invading host.

It is also the remembrance of tragedy for inexperienced friends driving on narrow country roads.

This collection of poems and stories shares the type of childhood that has mostly disappeared in contemporary times. Come and revisit it here, in the pages of a Small Town Kid.


Let me just start by saying, I am not a poetry fan. I read a book to read a story not to try to piece together dry poetry. When I pick out a book to read, it is NEVER poetry. I don’t know why. It must just be because all of the poetry books I have read are very dry, dull, and uninteresting. I just do not like poetry books.

Frank Prem changed that. He has a very unique way of writing poetry. He writes in free verse form and tells the story of his life. He takes the reader from his childhood to adult days, and everything in between. I was quite taken aback by his style.

I must say that before I started reading his book, I was worried that I would “fall asleep” in the first chapter. However, this was definitely not the case. Frank Prem has a way of drawing his readers into his story, and despite the fact that it is poetry, paints a beautiful picture of his life. I am a classic book LOVER–I love the deep and rich language used in the stories. It is something I miss in modern books.

However, I was so happy when I read Small Town Kid, because the author uses such deep language, yet in a modern form. I loved how he used lines like “the cakes of my grandmother were moist with overflowing flavor deep crust filled with rich dark seed…” It made me actually taste the crust in my mouth, and picture it on the plate.

I absolutely adore reading books that I can picture–so Small Town kid was a delight to read. Memoirs are another of my favorite genres to read, and I thought it was so cool to read one with a twist of free verse poetry. I can now add a new accomplishment to my book of records–I read a memoir written in poetic form!

Even if you are not the type of reader–like me–who does not typically enjoy poetry, I recommend this book, because I guarantee you will be surprised. I really enjoyed this book overall! I loved the style, poise, scenes, pictures, and-yes-poetry. It is a book I will add to my “to-be-read-again list”.


Frank Prem has been a storytelling poet for forty years. When not writing or reading his poetry to an audience, he fills his time by working as a psychiatric nurse. He has been published in magazines, e-zines and anthologies, in Australia and in a number of other countries, and has both performed and recorded his work as ‘spoken word’. Frank has published two collections of free verse poetry – Small Town Kid (2018) and Devil In The Wind (2019). He and his wife live in the beautiful township of Beechworth in northeast Victoria (Australia).
Frank Prem Contacts and Social Media:
Author Page (Newsletter sign up):
Facebook page:
Twitter: Frank PremAmazon:


Do you like audiobooks, eBooks, or paperback books the best?
My personal preference is to hold a book in my hand. Partly I think that’s because of my age – I’m in my 60’s now and have used books all my life, and partly it is because I spend most of my day, every day, in front of an electronic device for my work, and for news and for such a lot of things, these days. When it comes to reading for pleasure, I enjoy something other
than an electronic device. I have enjoyed e-book reading when traveling by plane – it is so convenient when there are luggage constraints to consider.
With audio books, I have used educational audio, but not listening for recreation. I do enjoy reading my work to an audience, so I don’t rule out creating audio books in the future. I do wonder if I would be adequate narrating my own work, and I’d love to get any reader’s thoughts on that, so here is a link to some recorded work I’ve done. Let me know what you think:

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how do you overcome it? If not, why?
I’ve experienced writer’s block in the past, and I believe it was the result of having too many things on my mind to allow me to settle into the kind of meditative state that allows me engage with my thoughts so that I can capture them on paper. That changed when my need to write became greater than my other preoccupations and I felt compelled to pursue my poetry. I am not experiencing writer’s block at present and am truly grateful for that.

What was your favorite childhood book? What made it stand out to you?
When I was a child I loved our school readers, which consisted of selected short stories and poems. A different one each year. They were wonderful primers for reading, I think. I was also very fond of a WW1 bi-plane pilot called ‘Biggles’ – a series written by someone named Captain W. E. Johns. I think those books might be collectors’ items, now. As a young father I enjoyed reading a book of illustrated nonsense rhymes to my children, and also a book called ‘The Oath of Bad Brown Bill’ by Stephen Axelsen (The link to the Author’s page is here: Wonderfully illustrated and very funny.

When you write a book, do you write it in the chronological order that the readers see, or do you write the scenes whenever they come to you, and when finished piece all the parts of the book together to make the finished product?
With my earlier collections such as Small Town Kid and Devil In The Wind, I wrote the poems as they occurred to me, or as events unfolded, and then assembled them into a story arc and book sequence afterwards. They weren’t originally planned as books, but simply as episodes that I wanted to record. In both those collections, I think the order flows well, but is not strictly chronological. With more recent works in progress, I know that it is likely I will want to publish these collections in book form and I am writing with more thought for chronological consistency, to a far greater extent than in the early works.

How many drafts, do your books generally go through before they are published?
I don’t do a lot of revising. My work is largely stream of consciousness, and isn’t affected by any need to rhyme, so, if I’ve captured my thought clearly enough and expressed it well, then it shouldn’t need content revision. If I haven’t caught the idea well, no amount of revision is likely to fix it. I’d rather discard such a piece and move on. I do use an external professional editor and there may be several iterations of the manuscript back and forth between us during the editing process, but by and large, mine is clean copy and the concerns are more about consistent usage of language conventions,
rather than content.

You have a new poetry collection scheduled for release toward the end of 2019. Will that also be a memoir?
Yes, Ani, this collection will be titled: The New Asylum – a memoir of psychiatry, and it will be the memoir of a lifetime spent by myself in psychiatry, extending from when I was a child visiting my parents at the Mental Asylum where they worked, to later training as a Psychiatric Nurse, working in an acute psychiatry service, managing such a service and then
in a hostel for long term rehabilitation and care. I think it will be a unique presentation and expose of public sector psychiatry, which may be
quite confronting for readers, but which needs to be read, and discussed.
There is humor, and the ironies that become so evident in any form of institutional care.

Your three collections (including The New Asylum) are all either memoir or ‘true life’ collections of stories. Do you write to other themes in your poetry?
I do, indeed, Ani. I’ve come to think of what I have been writing in recent times as a form of Speculative Fiction, with a surreal twist. I take a lot of pleasure from imagining what if situations. What if a writer is an ink junkie? What if I could write something so realistically, that the object came to life? What if a man were stuck in a spaceship, doomed to travel in a straight line through space forever?
What if . . .
There is no end to the what if’s that are possible and I delight in exploring them. Here is an example, called ontol-echo:
I also write in a short form that I call Seventeen Syllable Poetry. Seventeen syllables, like Haiku, but written in my usual way without form. Only the syllable count as a restriction.

What are your sources of inspiration to help you write?
I love to deal in images, Ani. Either by writing in such a way that nan imagery is accessible to the reader to facilitate a deeper reading experience, or by using pictorial images – of clouds or objects as an inspiration and a point of departure for a poetic journey. I love trying to interpret tricky ideas and render them into an accessible form that encourages a reader to comment and discuss. A little while back I walked around a Collectibles Barn – one of those places that is filled with second-hand goods. I was celebrating my first smart phone at the time, and had fallen in love with the ability to take pictures in the way that smart phones allow. When I came
home, I sat down and wrote a series I called Voices in the Trash (and the Treasure) using those pictures as the prompt. Here is one called Voices #19: we do not/ you do not:

Do you write in ‘first person’ or ‘third person’?
I very much prefer to write in the third person. My character is generally a ‘he’, although I don’t really have gender in mind. Third person allows me to act as a narrator and observer. In this role, I am just behind the character’s shoulder as he looks at things, just inside his mind, as he thinks. I feel that writing in first person takes away objectivity for myself as a writer, and perhaps a little accessibility for the reader.

What do you hope will be your legacy, as a writer?
Once upon a time I wanted to have a copy of one of my books resident on every bedside table in the land, because I would be (of course) the most famous poet of the times and my work would be irresistible. Now? Well, I hope to be able to have an impact on a few lives through my work and through my live readings, but it has become more important, I think, simply to represent my work in the best way I can. To turn it into books and at least enable folk to find a copy, should they choose to look.

In the end, I have no control over legacy, but right now, I can make another book and let people know that it exists. I can read for them and talk to them about what has been written and what they have heard. Perhaps, that might be enough.


This giveaway is a bit different than my last giveaway. The way this giveaway works is that you MUST either LIKE this post or COMMENT on it to be entered into the raffle. The people who both like AND comment will be entered twice to win a FREE ebook copy of Small Town Kid (formats are available in .mobi, .epub, and PDF)! The winner will be chosen September 7, 2019 at 12:00 PM MST. (I have an app that randomly picks a name as a winner–there are no favorites :)) I will announce the winner on my blog shortly after. ONLY ONE WINNER WILL BE CHOSEN!

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s