cover image Finna


Nate Marshall. One World, $17 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-0-59313-245-6

“[M]y hope is like my language is like my people: it’s Black,” writes Marshall (Wild Hundreds) in his rich and reflective second collection. In four sprawling, intertwining sections, Marshall explores masculinity, the effects of community and familial relationships, and the role of Black language in imagining a livable future. “you better imagine/ like your life depends/ because it does,” he writes. In the first of these sections, Marshall stages a drama between his own understanding against that of a white supremacist living in Colorado (also named Nate Marshall) who serves as a foil that appears periodically as the poet reflects on his own changing life. Marshall is a wizard of the anecdote, finding resonance without over-explaining. “[A] poem for Justin” emerges out of a nephew’s wish for such a poem; “conceal” takes seriously the competing impulses of a grandmother’s contradictory life; and in “scruples,” Marshall writes, “i spill finna from my mouth/ like 2 cheeks full of pop,” a warning of “all the hesitation I shook loose.” This is a memorable, thought-provoking, and impactful collection. (Aug.)