Nine Acres

Nathaniel Perry

APR/Honickman First Book Prize winner

Winner of the 2011 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize, Nathaniel Perry’s debut collection, Nine Acres, is—in the style of a 1930s farming manual—a guide to “husbandry—care of the land, of animals, (of a marriage, of children)…” As Marie Howe writes in the book’s introduction, “It’s difficult to speak of character in art. Art will have its way with us. But reading these poems, I felt the character of the writer, his respect for the contracts we make in our lives. And I felt his love for the hard work of language so wrought as to be almost adequate to life. These poems restore and refresh—they taste of water and metal, arising from a spring close to the source.”

ISBN: 9780983300809

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Nathaniel Perry lives with his family in rural southside Virginia. He is the editor of the Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and teaches at Hampden-Sydney College.

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Nine Acres is a wonderful book. With his attentive sense of place, his deft and unobtrusive formal craft, and a subtle exploration of that intimacy with the land that comes of thoughtful cultivation, Nathaniel Perry reminds us that dwelling is a ‘ceremony where the part / we’re meant to play is a mystery, / and everything is about to start.’” —John Burnside

“These poems are in conversation with a place, and through such conversation the place becomes more fully itself and the poet becomes enlivened to his task as the steward of the place and all dear things on it. The music and the steady rhythm of these poems echo work—hand work—and move forward to arrive, like hymns, at the complexity of faith. Nine Acres is a beautiful, subtle, and important book.” —Maurice Manning

“The cosmopolitan and questioning poems of Nathaniel Perry’s book overcome any prejudice against the agrarian as merely smug, sentimental, or reactionary. Reaching further back and deeper than that, including both comedy and dread, Nine Acres is also a book of love poems, expressed with an awareness of culture, in many senses of that word.” —Robert Pinsky

“In the tradition of Virgil’s Georgics, this is an interwoven collection of poems about, yes, agriculture. There are poems entitled ‘Drainage,’ ‘Water Supply,’ ‘Fruit Tree Pruning,’ ‘Frost Damage Prevention,’ ‘Bees,’ and ‘Compost.’ But even for readers who don’t have a lot of interest in farming, what carries you along is Nathaniel Perry’s earthy lyricism. As you spend time with Nine Acres you become more attuned to the seasons, more aware of how all living things on our planet are connected, and more grateful for the edible gifts that we receive from the field. Growing food, it turns out, is a sacrament—and a form of meditation, too, nudging us to pay attention to forces both seen and invisible.” —Roundglass