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Information and Pricing
978-1-64317-361-0 (paperback, $14.99); 978-1-64317-362-7 (PDF, $9.99); 978-1-64317-363-4 (EPUB, $9.99). © 2023 by Parlor Press, 78 pages
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What People Are Saying
In A Suit of Paper Feathers, backwoods apocryphal folk tales merge with data mining and boyhood spaceship fantasies, and the intimacies of lovers are treated with the same reverence as the intricacies of wetland irrigation. These poems push language to its furthest limits, each line crystallized in amber; what lurks in the space of the unsaid will hollow you out like the hole beneath an uprooted oak. The heart of this collection is indeed “a litter of puppies in the stomach of an alligator,” and as we follow the shapeshifting speaker from Texarkana to Missoula, through the flatlands of Illinois and the swamplands of Louisiana, Nate Duke proves himself to be a league of poet all his own. Ragged and elegant, A Suit of Paper Feathers left me in awe at what poetry can accomplish when spun by a masterful hand. —Erin Slaughter, author of The Sorrow Festival
This book is a tender damnation. Nate Duke constructs a contemporary Americana that is, at first, comfortingly familiar. But soon, winds swirl, and it is time to hide in the tornado cellar—to spoon canned corn next to a kerosene lamp. These poems are as precise as a factory line in the Ozark mountains—readying the neighbors for the end times, or an apocalypse. Tucking them in and lulling them to sleep with deft epiphanies and cunning images. More impressive, though, is Duke’s intimate contortion and interrogation of language. This book is devastatingly clever. A beautiful and violent fork of lightning. A knockout debut collection. —Collin Callahan, author of Thunderbird Inn
The intellect in A Suit of Paper Feathers makes its ample bursts of tenderness and playfulness disarming. Duke fuses dirty realism with the surreal impeccably. Strange and powerful, his images and wordplay delight on every page. With this debut, the poet proves himself an innovator and essential voice in ecopoetics. In A Suit of Paper Feathers, nature accepts human cruelty with grace, while the book’s speaker self-destructs with great heart. “Don’t look at me I only want / my mom to like me,” Duke writes, his speaker avoiding a house “where someone knows me like a faucet.” Yet the book invites us to look at and know him and to see him profoundly in ourselves. —Brett Hanley, author of Defeat the Rest
Duke writes about Americana singers like Lucinda Williams and Tom T. Hall. Several poems interrogate his experiences working on farms in rural Oregon with WWOOF. The ‘farm’ poems in the manuscript are complemented by some poems about working for his mother’s environmental mitigation company in Arkansas. Duke engages these experiences through an ecocritical lens, which he also turns to broader cultural referents such as installation artist Christo.
Duke pursues a dark surrealism. The experimental poems in the manuscript strive toward Rimbaud’s conception, in his Illuminations, of “harmonic and architectural possibilities,” where “perfect, unforeseen beings offer themselves to experiments.” While Duke often approaches these poems from a surrealist place, he intends to achieve something beyond mysticism or surrealism—all while respecting the physicality of the page; the page as ecopoetic, site-specific encounter.
About the Author
Nate Duke’s work has appeared in Paris Review, GRANTA, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. He holds a PhD from Florida State University and an MFA from the University of Montana. A sculptor as well as a poet, he lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. A Suit of Paper Feathers is his debut collection
Author Photo Credit: Zach Hilty.
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