Coming February 1 and February 4: Sestina book launch, Poetry Forum at New School


February is a big month for me, shameless self-promotion-wise at least, and it all begins with two dates coming up in New York City. Here are the details.

Saturday, February 1 at 3pm will be The Incredible Sestina Anthology Launch Reading at Poets House, down in the Battery Park area at 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282. There are so many awesome poets coming to read sestinas you don’t even know. OK, I guess I’ll let you know: It really is an all-star cavalcade of sestina masters: David Lehman, Sharon Mesmer, Sparrow, Jade Sylvan, Victor Infante, Marilyn Nelson, Patricia Carlin, Sharon Dolin, Scott Edward Anderson, Michael Costello, Jason Schneiderman, Jeanne Marie Beaumont, Jenna Cardinale, Brendan Lorber, Ned Rust, and others. The event is free and you should come.

Then, on Tuesday, February 4 at 6:30pm, I’ll be reading from The Incredible Sestina Anthology and talking with David Lehman at The New School’s Poets Forum. Klein Conference Room (Room A510), Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street, New York, NY. Please come for what promises to be a great discussion about sestinas, anthology-making, and a few surprises. The event is free and you really should come.

More details about both of these events are at

Coming up: Cambridge on February 10, NYU Bookstore on February 19, Chicago on February 21, and then Seattle on Februrary 27.

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A special deal if you buy The Incredible Sestina Anthology now!


You knew this post was coming, didn’t you? The holiday shopping season is ramping up, and I’ve got my final grades in, and there’s a book to pimp.

Well, guess what? Here it goes. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy blog post.

This book, The Incredible Sestina Anthology? It’s beautiful. Over 300 pages. No one has named it yet, but it’s the best poetry anthology to come out in 2013. It has a good chunk of canonical sestinas from American poets, as well as some super-dynamite contemporary poets’ sestinas. It lists for $25 dollars.

For the poet-friend in your life, or the creative type who is looking for a new form for their work, or general inspiration, this is the book to get them this year. Buy it for your doorman or the precocious teenager. Wherever you buy it, be it Powell’s, Amazon, an indie store, or from the publisher, Write Bloody Publishing, the recipient will not be disappointed.

It slices. It dices. It juliennes. It spirals. It sestina-fies anything you put inside of it.

butwait2That’s right. There’s more. If you send me a photo of you with the book before you wrap it up for a present–or perhaps you’re buying it for yourself, some selfish retail therapy; either way, it’s good–and I’ll write you a poem. And not just any poem–I will write you a crappy sestina. That’s right–I will craft you a rushed, crappy sestina, inspired in part by the photo you send and whatever else is going on in my brain. The turnaround time will be 24 hours from the time you send me the photo to danielnester at gmail. I’ll mail you a hand-written sestina as well as a digital copy.

This offer expires on December 20, because by then I will be so overwhelmed writing crappy sestinas, I will need a break.

If you’ve read this far you must really want to get the book. So get it! Buy multiple fucking copies! And get your Incredible Sestina Anthology and crappy sestina today!

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I’ll be reading for OPP series on November 17.




Sunday, November 17, 2013
O.P.P.: Other People’s Poetry
featuring Daniel Nester reading from The Incredible Sestina Anthology
Social Justice Center
33 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12202
Sponsored by The Social Justice Center
Facebook event page


This November 17, in Albany, I’ll be reading from The Incredible Sestina Anthology at a new-ish series called OPP: Other People’s Poetry (or prose).

The format: how can I explain it? The format of the series is that you read other people’s work.

That’s cheating, you might say. Well, I say it’s special kind of business.

When you come to the reading’s location, the Social Justice Center, it won’t be a girlfriend’s or a cousin’s house. 

The address is 33 Central Avenue, in Albany. It all starts at 6pm. When it ends, I won’t–and I promise–say you have to leave, to grab your coat, right now you gotta go.

I will also not look you to the stairs and to the stair window.

I may ask everyone what is a five-letter word that rhymes with cleanness and meanness. So be ready with an answer to the question. Yeah, you know me.


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I’m guest-blogging over at The Best American Poetry blog this week.

nester_skinny_jeans Yes, you read that correctly. I’m guest-blogging over the the blog for The Best American Poetry series. I’ll be writing about The Incredible Sestina Anthology, mostly, since that’s what I am pimping and want to get the word out. I might round out the week with some manifesto call-to-arms.

This morning I posted the intro to TISA here.

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Notes on The Incredible Sestina Anthology


1. Ten years ago I started a new job, one with the tongue-in-cheek title of Assistant Web Editor for Sestinas at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. How did this happen? I tell the story here. Long story short: I read hundreds, maybe thousands, of sestinas, that most particular of poetic forms, and published my choices here.

2. Through the course of that gig, I collected sestinas that didn’t fit the criteria of the site, with dreams of someday publishing the first all-sestina collection. All killer no filler. I wanted John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Jonah Winter, Denise Duhamel, Patricia Smith, Alfred Corn, Florence Cassen-Mayers, Marilyn Nelson, Sherman Alexie, Matt Madden, all under one roof.

3. And now it’s happening.

4. Ten years, one hundred-plus poems, a hundred permissions, the help and guidance of many, one very patient life partner, and one super publisher, Write Bloody Publishing, later, it’s happening.

5. I can’t be modest about this book. It’s called The Incredible Sestina Anthology for a reason. Look at that Table of Contents.

6. It’s the first book of its kind, and I hope people buy it. I hope people buy several copies. I hope instructors of poetry will assign it. I hope libraries will acquire it and put it on their shelves. I hope poetry nerds like myself will lap it up.

6a. The book is now in physical book form in Austin, Texas, where Write Bloody lives. There it is, next to Cristin O’Keef Aptowicz’s and Jade Sylvan’s title.

6b. I will have to wait for my own copies and to get the contributor copies out. I haven’t held one in my hands and fanned the pages and smelled that new book smell.

7. Safe to say this job putting out a book is not over.

7a. Now comes the hustle. Posting. Tweeting. Sending bound galleys. Cutting through to get people’s attention.

7b. I think I am half-good at doing this kind of thing. On the one hand, I like meeting people who are interesting and curious; on the other hand, I like staying at home and reading out-of-print Lester Bangs reviews and repairing 8-tracks.

7c. It’s precisely these moments that I need to remember the joy of doing what I do, rather than the anxiety. This won’t make sense to people who are, you know, well-adjusted. But for maladaptive types like myself, I feel like I’m never doing enough.

8. One thing is for sure. When the readings happen, when the poets who were generous enough to allow me to include their work in this book get together and read their sestinas in front of people, and with a stack of those books sitting on a table nearby, I’m going to be teary-eyed. Verklempt. Misty. I’ll be grateful and proud and a little overwhelmed.

8a. I’m going to look like Michael Landon toward the end of an episode of Little House on the Prairie.  

8b. These days I find myself asking people to write about the book, to spread the word, to get out there and buy it.

9. So: If you are in that business, of spreading words, please spread it. If you are in the business of teaching a poetry class that invites forms, please consider assigning it. I’ll be glad to visit your class in person or on the internets.

10. If you like buying books, you should buy it. Here’s where you can do that:

Powell’s Books of Portland, OR, which will deliver anywhere and is awesome;

Indiebound, where you can find independent bookstores that will sell you a copy, or will order one for you, or purchase online;

Write Bloody’s website, which published this incredible book and publishes other incredible books;

Amazon, which is, you know, Amazon.


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Follow and help with my “Double Clap Single Clap” Spotify list.

I love songs that use the double-clap single-clap. You know, that thing? Sometimes it’s used in the whole song, other times it’s in the bridge or the intro or outro.

No matter where it is, I love it.

So I started making a Spotify list to help put them all in one spot. The Cars’ “My Best Friend’s Girl.” Hall and Oates’ “Private Eyes.” J. Geils’ “Centerfold.” The Kingsmen’s “Louie Louie.” Sometimes it’s down in the mix, other times right in the hook.

There are limitations to Spotify, of course–no Beatles or Led Zeppelin–but what I have there, with the help of record nerds and Facebook friends is pretty good. Do you know others? Help a Double Clap Single Clap brother out. And follow along as we add songs.



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Just up on VoicemailPoems: “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Your Mama.”

VoicemailPoems, a cool new-ish journal, just published a poem of mine called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Your Mama.” I wrote it while I was teaching disabled adults from the Rennselaer Renselaer ARC, and assigned them to write their own “Thirteen Ways of Looking at X”; the exercise is here on my Teaching Blog if you’re curious.

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