Jesse Nathan

Major Jackson writes: If it can be said that the music in a poem augments reality, then Jesse Nathan’s singular vision and genius locate us in opulent lyrics that enhance our meager real-world experience into songs of radiance and wonder….Katie Ford calls the book “one of the newborn wonders of the world…”

Eggtooth, poet Jesse Nathan’s highly anticipated debut collection, is a moving account of growing up queer in rural Kansas–and leaving that life for the challenges and thrills of San Francisco. Robert Hass has written a 3,000-word foreword for Jesse’s collection–the first he has ever written for a debut book. 

Jesse’s poems have been published in notable journals such as The Paris Review, The Nation, Fence, The Kenyon Review, and The Yale Review. Poems from Eggtooth have appeared or are forthcoming in The New York Review of Books, The New Republic, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. He was founding editor of the McSweeney’s Poetry Series and teaches literature at UC Berkeley.

Eggtooth, a collection of poems "about" growing up queer and weird in middle America and northern California, has  just been named the winner of the 2024 New Writers Award!
Jesse is the winner in Poetry, D.K. Nnuro in Fiction, and Roger Reeves in Nonfiction.
The award is given by the Great Lakes Colleges Association, so look out for a related slate of readings from Jesse, likely at Kenyon, Oberlin, Antioch, Earlham, and others, throughout 2024 and 2025.
And, the book's just gone into a third printing!
One poem from Eggtooth has just been picked for the Best American Poetry 2024. In California, the title has been named a finalist for the 2024 Golden Poppy Award.
Jesse's done amazing readings at UC Berkeley's Lunch Poems -- the place was jammed! -- where he was introduced by Geoffrey G. O'Brien, as well as at Elliott Bay Book Company, at the wonderful North Figueroa Bookshop in LA, at Williams College, at Oxford University, at St Andrews, and others. In the new year, he'll be in Ann Arbor with Linda Gregerson, at KGB Bar with Colin Channer, at Point Reyes Books with Karen Solie and Forrest Gander, and in Baltimore with Andrew Motion.
BOMB recently featured Jesse, among others, speaking about "What Sustained Us" in 2023. One poem from the collection, "Between States," will be included in Thomas Fox Averill's new Kansas literary anthology. H.L. Hix did a great interview with Jesse, and the book has gotten -- unprecedented for a first book -- more than a dozen reviews, some of them quite deep and wonderful, such as this one by Joseph Kidney, or this potent note at Poetry Foundation by Christopher Spaide, or this starred review at Publisher's Weekly.
Jesse was also featured on the queer podcast You Shouldn't Let Poets Lie To You, interviewed by Amelia Ada and Alexandria Hall. Mandana Chaffa has interviewed him for Fence. Here he is in conversation with Ishion Hutchinson and here with Xi Chuan -- and all this just in the last few weeks.
Frank Bidart describes Eggtooth as "brilliant and ambitious." I particularly love what Marie Mutsuki Mockett says about it: "I can't think of another writer who so clearly sees the land for what it is: the actual organ from which we emerge and whose fate is directly linked to our own." Major Jackson calls it a book of poems that will "reverberate through the ages." The Millions describes it as a "must-read."