Poetry. In IOWA, Travis Nichols turns the bleak cultural void of Midwestern adolescence into a sequence of stunning prose vignettes. Here, a coming-of-age consciousness articulates the knotty uncertainties of personal, social and familial anxieties in sentences as equally complex as the feelings they house: "The memories true or not against him seem to be turning to steam, as I turned, all the while thinking of chewing out alone through the ghostly meats." With youthful perplexity and zeal, a humorous and caustic violence of reflection drives this meditative, unclassifiable book. The scary truth is that the foreignness of private teenage cant was always asking the right questions. Now, we just have to listen: "Is this the right one thing you haunt? Looking at this one house year after year? Yes. It must be. Not to let you move on. That was the way out."
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Born in Iowa in 1979, Travis Nichols now lives in Chicago. An editor at the Poetry Foundation, his writing has appeared in The Village Voice, The Believer, Paste, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and The Stranger. He is also the author of Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder, a novel, and See Me Improving, a collection of poems.
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