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Jim Natal's most recent poetry collection, 52 Views: The Haibun Variations, was published by Tebot Bach in April 2013. He is the author of three previous collections: Memory and Rain; Talking Back to the Rocks; and In the Bee Trees, which was a finalist for the 2000 Pen Center USA and Publisher's Marketing Association Ben Franklin Awards. He also is the author of three chapbooks (Explaining Water With Water, Oil on Paper, and The Landscape from Behind) and two limited-edition chapbooks (A Collector of Infinity and Rain in L.A.). A multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee (including 2012), his poetry has been published or reviewed in Bellingham Review, Runes, Spillway, Pool, Reed, The Paterson Literary Review, Poetry International, and The Los Angeles Review among other print and online journals. Natal's work also has appeared in many anthologies, including New Poets of the American West; Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer's Disease; Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here; Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Strategies; and What Have You Lost?
He has been a featured poet at dozens of colleges, bookstores, literary series, and festivals, including the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the Tucson Festival of Books, Long Island University, Washington College, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in New Jersey, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art's Writers in Focus series, and the Santa Barbara, Long Beach, and San Luis Obispo Poetry Festivals.
Natal is the founder and director of the Hassayampa Institute's The Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. He curated and co-hosted the Poem.X and Rose Café poetry series in Santa Monica for more than 10 years and helped establish and coordinate Antioch University's multi-genre L.A. Writers Series. He also leads writing workshops, one of which, the long-running annual Plein Air Poetry outdoor writing workshop at Joshua Tree National Park, is coordinated through the Desert Institute.
Natal was an executive for the National Football League's Creative Services Group in Los Angeles for 25 years. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2005. He taught writing at Yavapai College and Prescott College, as well as at New Roads School in Santa Monica. With his wife, graphic designer and book artist Tania Baban, Natal founded Conflux Press in 2003. He lives in Los Angeles.
To contact Jim Natal about books, readings, and workshops, call:
MY STUDENT WRITES
My student writes about his last day in Iraq, the one that ends with his getting blown up by an IED. I try to separate form from content the way the insurgent separated my student from much of his blood and nearly his life. His essay needs a lot of work— spelling, punctuation, flow. Point and support, point and support, I drone to the class. No argument without example. No blast without detonation.
The rules of grammar,
dispassionate as a bomb;
each wire connected.
from 52 Views: The Haibun Variations (Tebot Bach, 2013)
POETRY COLLECTIONS BY JIM NATAL
52 Views: The Haibun Variations by Jim Natal is the journal of a metaphoric year, fifty-two poems in contemporary haibun form inspired by Hokusai's iconic ukeyoe series, 36 Views of Mt. Fuji, and Matsuo Basho's Narrow Road to the Interior.
"Jim Natal's 52 Views: The Haibun Variations is a record of an interconnected age, of the struggles of everyday life in the context of family, place, current events, and art. Interspersed with journal entries are short haiku-like poems that reflect and refract the light of the prose in surprising ways. Reading the pieces in succession, you can feel your mind shifting from prose-mode to poetry-mode. A successful venture into the form, it's like reading three books at once, at the same time in the moment, in memory, and in reflection. With an informative 'Afterword,' it is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand or write contemporary haibun."
"A fine book of deft, deep, sure-handed and big-hearted poems."
"Style is never a matter of word choice or sentence construction; rather it reflects the way in which a writer engages the world about him. Whether in Montaigne, in Chandler, or in Montale, it is that play of an individual mind across the subject, that unique consciousness and voice, that we seek. And this is what we have in Memory and Rain."
"...This is a book of wisdom, its poems the sculpted stones of a life deeply lived and beautifully told."
"...Rich in lovely detail; true to the affairs of the heart."
"In the Bee Trees is a remarkable and powerful collection..."
David St. John
"...Marvelously elegant, essential poems--melodious, deep, and true."
Naomi Shihab Nye