Nathan Hoks is the author of Reveilles, which won Salt Publishing's Crashaw Prize in 2010. His poems and translations have appeared in Crazyhorse, Lit, Circumference, and Verse. He is an editor and letterpress printer for Convulsive Editions, and lives with his wife and son in Chicago.
Selected as a winner of the National Poetry Series
by Dean Young
John Ashbery called Reveilles, Nathan Hoks’s debut book, a “dazzling” collection and Hoks a poet whose “fine gradations of observation turn the reader into a barometer of strong subtleties like those of the weather, that can be minute even as they affect us powerfully.” The poems in Hoks’s new book, The Narrow Circle, perform a similar magic. In associative lyrics and fabulist prose, Hoks explores inner and outer experiences. The poems frequently focus on the body as a membrane where everything becomes inside-out—where the “face disperses with angels of teeth and loam,” where “sky comes out of the mouth,” where a giant green worm “burrows a hole in the head,” and where the heart is a vestibule that cannot be closed. Suites of pictures within the text further delineate this inward-outward pull, offering visualizations of interior voices and sketches of exterior shadows.
"Contemplative enough to evoke 'the sound of your head' and strangely perceptive enough to assert that sound is like 'a car starting in the rain,' these poems are marvelously resourceful while being elegantly composed. With Chaplinesque pathos, Nathan Hoks fills The Narrow Circle with imaginative verve."