Wild Hundreds

In his powerful debut collection, winner of the 2014 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Marshall explores the perils and praise songs of black lives on the South Side of Chicago. Much of the collection takes shape through the voice of a young black man navigating high school, family, friendships, and the physical and mental dangers that surround him as he strives toward manhood. Marshall, a coeditor of The Breakbeat Poets anthology, displays his talent for tight narrative snapshots throughout, particularly in poems such as "Indian summer," which makes use of searing, multifaceted imagery that challenges the reader to see the dangers of summer for young black Chicagoans and why they "pray for rain." The poem "Mama Says" deftly explores the toll of mental trauma experienced by Marshall's speaker as he attempts to reconcile the violent deaths of friends. Some poems struggle to do more than simply present raw emotion and experience, but these are small bumps in an otherwise impressive debut. Marshall's poetry offers an insider's perspective that asks the reader to parse the sociopolitical systems that imperil black lives—not through abstract ideology, but through authentically rendered eyes: "every kid that's killed is one less free lunch,/ a fiscal coup. welcome to where we from.
Publishers Weekly
Winner of the 2014 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
Winner of the 2016 BCALA Literary Award
Winner of the 2017 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award

Winner, 2016 BCALA Literary Award (poetry category)Winner of the 2014 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize Finalist, 2015 NAACP Image Awards (poetry category)Wild Hundreds is a long love song to Chicago. The book celebrates the people, culture, and places often left out of the civic discourse and the travel guides. Wild Hundreds is a book that displays the beauty of black survival and mourns the tragedy of black death.

about the author

Nate Marshall

Nate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. He is a Cave Canem Fellow whose work has appeared in Poetry magazine, New Republic, Indiana Review, and elsewhere. He is coeditor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop.Marshall has won the Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award and the Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award. He is a visiting assistant professor of English at Wabash College, a member of the poetry collective Dark Noise, and also a rapper.

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Nate Marshall