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Works and Days by Nathaniel Rosenthalis

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Nathaniel Rosenthalis’ Works and Days is a brilliant, lyrical, and exuberant collection of poems. Playful, tender, and often wise, these works combine self-portraiture, literary homage, familial anecdotes, mythological retellings, and philosophical contemplation to create a series of moving depictions of what it is to be human and part of a world of both great suffering and great joy. With humor, intelligence, and vulnerability, the poems examine themes of love, loss, beauty, language, and the meaning of art and art making. Works and Days is a work of great depth and heart.

PRAISE for Works and Days:Works and Days is a text touched into its shapes by lovers, teachers, books. Line and syntax gleam with the exquisite surprise of its own gorgeous, singular aliveness and becoming. Rosenthalis’ is a poetics of shiftful undoing formed by such intellect and intimacy, a poetics which I have begun to cherish as a political practice and ethics: “Once poets put / names on things Now / I take them off.” So I myself am touched into new-old shape. And pulled into relation with an exquisite, indomitable energy. — Aracelis Girmay, the black maria

"Some dramas don't / depend on death / They depend on / sound." Nathaniel Rosenthalis lets readers in on the scaffolding of his poems, acknowledging the visual artists and writers holding the beams that he backflips on; years of apprenticeship go into a performance as seemingly effortless as this. In both a series of self-portraits and in the essayistic, unspooling long poem "Father Figures," contemporary and ancient influences support his luminous poems. Both Bernadette Mayer and the ancient Greek poet Hesiod would surely admire the insouciant but deeply attentive voice of these Works and Days. — Laura Cronk, Ghost Hour

In the dazzling Works and Days, Nathaniel Rosenthalis writes, "the human has the chance to be a big believer. Malice no longer seems like the only option.” These poems careen—almost miraculously, often with a breathtaking hopefulness—between the immediate everyday and the insistence of Eros. The body—complex as it is, so riven with the senses, desires, and the ache of discovery—is no accident, Works and Days tells us, it’s where and how we find ourselves. Let these poems make you a believer. — Richard Deming, This Exquisite Loneliness

ABOUT Nathaniel Rosenthalis:

Nathaniel Rosenthalis is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, including Works and Days (Broken Sleep Books, 2024) and The Leniad (Broken Sleep Books, 2023). His poems have appeared in Granta, The Chicago Review, New American Writing, Lana Turner, The Harvard Advocate, Denver Quarterly, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. Based in New York City, he works as an actor and singer.

Broken Sleep Books



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