Ugly Duckling Presse


Nathaniel Farrell

Poetry | $14 $12
Buy" A stunning milito-pastoral in daguerreotype, fading to amber at the edges."
Part historical fiction and part nature poem, Newcomer takes place in a wartime landscape estranged by nostalgia and American story-telling. A soldier passes through a landscape that is mutable, both familiar and foreign, while memories of home come in waves, receding and reappearing in images of crisp grass and in the sounds of wind. Military epic mixes with pastoral romance, and neither are resolved. Instead, Newcomer's investigation of entropic minutia suggests a very contemporary (perhaps post-traumatic) confusion of temporality, and by this turns our thoughts toward a phenomenology of historical imagination.Excerpt ˇ


All the farmer will find us to have left behind in that place 

will be the smaller duck 

the one that dives and hides. Everything else

eaten or taken, even the skunk cabbage 

broken, stinking near the creek. 

Some of the bark on the trees

cut away by things we tied to them. 

Bits of spider web cling to my cheek.  

Close ˆ

About the Author

Nathaniel Farrell

Nathaniel Farrell, an educator and poet, was born and raised in Western Pennsylvania. He holds a doctorate in English Literature from Columbia University in New York. His chapbook The Race Poems—a take on race relations during the Iraq War and the Second Intifada—was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2005. Newcomer (UDP, 2014) is his first book, a long poem set in an undefined American-soil campaign. He has published poems in 6x6, Greetings Magazine, and The Recluse. He currently resides in St. Louis.

Advance Praise

"These are Nathaniel Farrell’s poems, of course, but when I read them they are mine, too: common life told with common words, resounding and clean. Their setting may be historical, ostensibly the Civil War, but their concerns are the stuff of daily life, glimpsed from porches and saddles and moonlit camps and recorded with quiet intensity. The simple counters of weather, family, fields, and roads make for homesick songs that anyone might sing. In an age of hard trying, such anonymity is a virtue and a pleasure." —Devin Johnston
"With mesmerizing grace, Nathaniel Farrell’s poem sequence interlaces the world of memory with radically immediate impressions of the land. Sense exceeds circumstance as a soldier from an indeterminate time, fighting an indeterminate war, moves through new country, grasping at the specters of the rural life he left. In faceted lines and precise diction, Farrell creates a landscape where the enemy may have just passed “the same hawks menaced by little birds,” where soldiers become “nothing more than needle and thread / pushed and pulled in and out of the land.” Newcomer is a stunning milito-pastoral in daguerreotype, fading to amber at the edges."—Ted Mathys