See Me ImprovingBook - 2010
Travis Nichols is a young poet and novelist who invites readers into a world of relationships gone strange. In his poems, everyday human behaviors become fraught with extraordinary significance. It's a delicate balance of orchestration and improvisation--both dizzying and oddly comforting. The poems, thick with vibrant language and semantic play, hint at a Rimbaudian derangement of the senses while being hyper-alert and completely alive.
All my life I've felt destined
not for the greatness of my heroes
but the goodness of their followers.
I knew, even when I found a piece
of tooth in my Sausage McMuffin,
I would surmount the poverty
and dullness of my youth.
I knew neither my poverty nor my youth
would be significant enough
to attract attention,
only simple enough
to graft onto the great biographies.
Even when I felt uncommon and angry enough
to steal balloons from the drug store
and spit red paintballs through a peashooter
at people making out in the park I knew
I was no Billy the Kid . . .
Travis Nichols is an editor at the Poetry Foundation. He is the author of Iowa , a collection of poems, and Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder (Coffee House Press), a novel. He edits the online magazine Weird Deer and regularly contributes to The Believer , Paste , and The Stranger . He lives in Chicago.