Nathaniel Farrell holds a doctorate in English Literature from Columbia University and is the author of Newcomer (Ugly Duckling Press 2014) and Lost Horizon (UDP 2019), a long poem inspired by the American mall, interstate landscapes and suburban pastorals. In addition to teaching College Writing at Washington University, he hosts the weekly experimental music program Cure for Pain on 88.1 KDHX – the region’s long-running, entirely community-supported freeform radio station – and teaches in St. Louis University’s Prison Education Program at FCI Greenville.
in the news:
Poetry. Taking as a point of departure the retail utopia of the American mallscape--a composite of town square, garden and space station--LOST HORIZON spirals out through interstate and rail to touch national parks, local attractions, truck stops, big box stores, strip malls, tattoo parlors, oil rigs, flower shops, and baggage claims. Throughout the incessant movement of the book-length poem, unbroken by stanzas or sections, Farrell privileges observation over judgment and seeks out the crossroads between cultural myth and brand image. The poem speaks from between the mall fountain and the wishing well, the Disney princess and Spenserian queen, the noble hero and the voyeur. LOST HORIZON is a poem that catalogs and indexes the collision between fantasies of high and low.
Poetry. 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.