Meet Nick Sturm (and his book of poetry)

Nick is my colleague down here in Tallahassee but I think of him as a Midwestern poet, specifically an Ohio poet because he’s from Akron.  He makes Akron seem cool, like the Black Keys make Akron seem cool. The first time I hung out with him, he came and joined a bunch of poets on my porch, brought a bottle of excellent whiskey, and wrote a bunch of poems with the group on the backs of pizza boxes.  I still have those pizza boxes.  They are, as Nick would say, “Rad”. He’s not just cool though, he’s impressive.  Every time I turn around, Nick’s doing something awesome related to poetry, or he’s got a new poem appearing somewhere awesome.   Like when I went to his Facebook wall to catch up on where he’s at on his current book tour, I saw that many of his friends were re-posting this new poem of his, which was recently published on the PEN American Center’s website.  I would say that Nick is just having a really good summer but believe me, he’s like this all year long.

H_NGM_N recently published his first book of poetry:

Like Nick himself, his book is doing things. Lots of things. He’s got several poems called “What a Tremendous Time We’re Having,” spliced between other poems, my favorite of which have titles that start with “Basic Guide…”  He’s got a Basic Guide to History that would make Woody Guthrie and Emma Goldman blush.  He’s got a Basic Guide to Friendship, which made enchiladas sound delicious and necessary. He’s got a Basic Guide to Success, Basic Guide to Growing Up, and a Basic Guide to Emergency that had one of my favorite lines in the whole book:

Every moment is an emergency and every emergency is an array of juxtaposition and grace.”

His book is anything but basic.  It’s an unbasic guide to a whole bunch of truths, and many of these truths had me laughing in public.  In some ways, reading Nick’s poems reminded me of last Thanksgiving, when I spent the afternoon in my apartment with my brother listening to all the Mitch Hedberg Youtube had to offer.  Like this line of Nick’s:

I wash my laundry in blue sauce.

and this line, which comes from the same “What a Tremendous Time We’re Having!” poem:

Sunflowers have the hospital surrounded

Like Mitch Hedberg, Nick’s poems are full of moments that make me stop and say, “Huh.I never saw it like that…” Moments that, I would say, indicate that I’m reading great poetry.  Some of these moments are sad, or nostalgic, or humble:

I feel like an air conditioner emitting/a kind of stupid music for you all but all I want/is not to be invisible.”

In the end, his repeated title proves true. We’re having a tremendous time and we don’t want it to end. Knowing Nick, there are plenty of tremendous poems coming soon.

You can buy his book here.

You can also watch H_NGM_N’s promotional video for his book:

share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: