Unbound Edition Press today announced it will publish Jesse Nathan’s highly anticipated debut poetry collection, Eggtooth. The collection will include an introduction by the celebrated poet Robert Hass, who served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997.
Nathan, who is a founding editor of the McSweeney’s Poetry Series, is widely published in many of the most respected literary journals. His poems, translations, and essays are featured in the Paris Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, Harvard Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review, among others. His reviews and interviews appear online in the McSweeney’s series “Short Conversations with Poets.”
“Eggtooth is an irresistibly suggestive word,” Nathan said. “I think of it as a figure for birth, for the violence of birth, or even rebirth, in my case.” The poems in the collection are formally attuned and entirely modern, providing a poetic tension that is, in Nathan’s words, “strict but always spilling over, held together with off-rhyme, with almost-rhyme.”
“Many of the poems draw on my experience growing up on a wheat farm in rural Kansas, the son of a Jewish father and a Mennonite mother,” Nathan said. “I have a sense of being both of that place and, in other ways, a stranger to it. These poems are about getting free in some way, getting out. On leaving, but also about the trauma of separation, homesickness, the difficulty of belonging anywhere. They try to weave together things that often don’t go together, things that seem to be hurtling in different directions.”
Patrick Davis, publisher at Unbound Edition Press, said, “There is an unyielding quality to Jesse’s poems. Across the collection, a sustained ache for what might have been establishes the heartbreak of hope as the emotional connective tissue of the work. We could not be more honored to have this collection entrusted to us.” The collection was acquired for the press by the acclaimed poet and literary critic, Peter Campion, who serves as executive editor. Eggtooth is presently scheduled for publication on September 5, 2023
Jesse Nathan teaches in the English department at UC Berkeley. Raised in northern California and rural Kansas, he lives in Oakland, California.