Reveilles, Nathan Hoks’ first collection of poems, re-imagines a tempered surrealism for the twenty-first century. Hoks combines dream-like sequences with flashes of reality—in fact, rather than escaping the world for the rich pleasures of dreams, Hoks’ poems often move from the landscape of dreams into a beautiful reality. Lovely and love-struck, these fiercely witty and wildly imaginative poems—including meditations on icicles and a “listless oboist” with “no note for green”—manage to transform into love poems before our eyes. Formally various and rhetorically questioning, Hoks’ restless, death-tinged poems keep asking, “Why do I suddenly feel so sentient?”. Hoks’ speakers “like to walk / behind these prop-like thoughts” only to recognize they will soon become “the up-and-coming moss.” Fusing deadpan humor with subtle emotional registers, the “laughing angel” in this book reminds us: “The sky holds nothing to the ground.”
‘‘The sense of the body flowing from an old comfortable posture / to a new exciting yet strange position’ is the animating force in Nathan Hoks’ dazzling first collection of poems. His fine gradations of observation (‘exciting yet strange’) turn the reader into a barometer of strong subtleties like those of the weather, that can be minute even as they affect us powerfully. These poems are like great gulps of fresh air.’ —John Ashbery
‘With courtly delicacy and humility belied by subtly extreme declarations and refreshingly diverse means, Nathan Hoks’ poems can be one moment deceptively plain-spoken, the next broadcasting from a typhoon. Reveilles may wake us ‘into some small nebula,’ but it would make of our minds and hearts comets and red giants.’ —Dean Young
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