Nathan McClain


Nathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), a recipient of fellowships from Sewanee Writers' Conference, The Frost Place, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and a graduate of Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New York Times Magazine, Poem-a-Day, The Common, West Branch Wired, upstreet, and Foundry, among others. Source

The Sentence

begins with its subject,

          which is the sentence.


Track the sentence

          to find out what happens


or how it will act. It is

          the subject, after all. To track,


meaning keep an eye on,

          which is synecdoche,


part representing the whole

          of a thing. One


may track a package if he pleases.

          One may track a person,


though you’d probably want

          the whole of him, not only


an eye, or perhaps

          only an eye. Look how


the sentence is so capable

          of embracing contraction.


A him may function

          as a subject, but that depends


upon the sentence, i.e., A man

          is subject to his sentence.


You understand.

          Such syntax renders it like


a package showing evidence

          of having been tampered with—





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Ars Poetica

Humor & Satire

Literary Devices:

Bleeding Title

when the title of a poem acts as the first line


a break between words within a metrical foot


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing


a figure of speech in which a part is made to represent the whole or vice versa