National Poetry Month: Nate Marshall

Created by Bob Helmbrecht, collection development librarian

Our contemporary poet for today is Nate Marshall. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Poetry Foundation, and the University of Michigan. He is also an assistant professor of English at Colorado College.

Marshall’s debut collection “Wild Hundreds” won the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s award for Poetry Book of the Year. The publisher describes it as “a long love song to Chicago” and “a book that displays the beauty of black survival and mourns the tragedy of black death.”

His follow-up collection “Finna” was released in 2020. It appeared on a number of best books of the year lists, including those of NPR and the New York Public Library. The publisher describes the collection as “sharp, lyrical poems celebrating the Black vernacular — its influence on pop culture, its necessity for familial survival, its rite in storytelling and in creating the safety found only within its intimacy.”

Besides his poetry writing, Marshall is also a playwright, essayist, editor, and has released several rap albums. And his grandmother was a librarian, which is always a plus! Whatever form he’s working in, give Marshall a read.