The Narrow Circle
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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.