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See Me Improving (Lannan Literary Selections)by Travis Nichols
Synopses & Reviews
Travis Nichols is a young poet and novelist who invites readers into a world of relationships gone strange. In his poems, everyday human behaviors become fraught with extraordinary significance. It's a delicate balance of orchestration and improvisation—both dizzying and oddly comforting. The poems, thick with vibrant language and semantic play, hint at a Rimbaudian derangement of the senses while being hyper-alert and completely alive.
All my life I've felt destined
not for the greatness of my heroes
but the goodness of their followers.
I knew, even when I found a piece
of tooth in my Sausage McMuffin,
I would surmount the poverty
and dullness of my youth.
I knew neither my poverty nor my youth
would be significant enough
to attract attention,
only simple enough
to graft onto the great biographies.
Even when I felt uncommon and angry enough
to steal balloons from the drug store
and spit red paintballs through a peashooter
at people making out in the park I knew
I was no Billy the Kid . . .
Travis Nichols is an editor at the Poetry Foundation. He is the author of Iowa, a collection of poems, and Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (Coffee House Press), a novel. He edits the online magazine Weird Deer and regularly contributes to The Believer, Paste, and The Stranger. He lives in Chicago.
"This hip and funny second collection of poems from Nichols (Iowa) looks, with a tender heart, mostly at domestic life, occasionally lifting its gaze toward the larger contemporary American scene. Nichols's speaker is, foremost, humbled by circumstances big and small: 'All my life I've felt destined/ not for the greatness of my heroes/ but the goodness of their followers.' He looks with a kind of gentle admiration on most things, from the local Bruegger's Bagels to the beloved, to whom tribute is paid in the title sequence: 'I will buy orange roses for you,/ and you will buy an orange book for me,/ and this evening we will leave them both/ in the cold house with the furry cat,/ so we can have a code orange night.' Slight in-jokes like this are sprinkled throughout, though most readers will find these plainspoken, free verse poems friendly and easy to grasp. Fans of poets like Matthew Zapruder will find much to like in this world in which 'Poetry is an ovary with an eyeball in it.' (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
If the cast of Peanuts were on a drunken boat, their cries for help would resemble poems of Travis Nichols.
About the Author
Travis Nichols: Travis Nichols is an editor at the Poetry Foundation. He is the author of Iowa, a collection of poems, and Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder, a novel. He edits the online magazine Weird Deer, and regularly contributes to The Believer, Paste, and The Stranger. His poetry has appeared in a wide range of magazines and journals, such as the Boston Review, Crowd, Lungfull!, and Denver Quarterly. He lives in Chicago.
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