"We enter a time warp of acquired tastes in a surrealistic romp of merciless language, inner- directed to those unrelieved of imagination, [and] who marvel at Rounds' language of a gathering, sentient madness."

--BZ Niditch, commenting on EH! Voidable Me. 

"Fowlpox Press is obsessed with Nathaniel S. Rounds, and with good reason... Round's verse is lucidly hysterical; the poems are pristine universes unto themselves, with jolting juxtapositions and otherworldly characters populating the lines with caffeinated vigor.”

--Alison Ross, Clockwise Cat



Download PDF by Pressing the button 





Shavings from the Drawknife 

Libels on Nature 

Crevalle Jack 

Brains 'N' Eggs 

 Delius Was Here


Libels on Nature: A Review

Appearing on the page does not seem to do this collection justice. The poems are lyrical and high energy, and I couldn’t help, when reading them, but to fly through them in a fast-paced, adrenaline-rushed way. This does not mean they are bad poems. Far from it. I just felt as I read them that they should be read aloud, and not by me but by the poet. They feel better suited for spoken word, and I have to question if that was not their derivation.

Despite its velocity, Libels on Nature provides intermissions, mostly in the form of recurring themes that help to slow the pace. These themes revolve around death, remembering/memories, preparing, waiting, moving, stopping, and going. In a word: Transitioning. There are also multiple references to art. It is easy to get caught up in the transitions encountered throughout the book, but the use of art references establishes momentary barriers, which help slow the pace. These barriers are ones in which the reader joins the narrator in examining these transitions from the outside looking in. This is especially interesting since the collection of poetry feels largely autobiographical. I could not help but feel Libels is an invitation to join Rounds in examining and understanding himself during a lengthened migratory phase.

In Occupied/Vacant, Rounds writes he “can’t sing four-part harmony / with all the guys gone out for a swim” and describes himself, as he examines an oil painting, “a city kid standing in a farm field” whose “brain needs a compass and a destination.” He separates himself from others, a sort of recognizable and perhaps at-ease-with loss or missingness, an awareness that transition can come. Landscapes, such as the one Rounds examines in Occupied/Vacant, lend themselves to creating this unknown but expected destination in which the poems’ protagonists reside. In “4×5,” we are given “black and white detritus on the Isle of the Dead” where “found family/quite alive” are “photographed amongst the cypress trees.” These survivors, if we are to call them this, “fail to notice” the approaching ferryman coming to carry them into whatever is beyond the water. Then there is “the world in Amoxicillin pink” in “104.7 F.” When I read this poem, I also found myself thinking of the ferryman again, particularly when the protagonist declares himself “a lowly member of law enforcement / wearing adult diapers” and considering his own transition as he thinks “about returning to the womb.”

One of my favorite poems is “Boaz Loves Rumiko,” and perhaps it is because it was one of the poems where the narrator/narration is kept at a distance. There’s not that welcome invitation to get to know the voice behind the poem. It is written outright, in fact, that:

You will not know me
That is to say
You do not know about me
Or one should rather say
That you don’t know about me
Without you have drawn

Too close to all the science

And its ever-present yawn

Even this poem, though, creates a pace that confronts moving forward, but, this time, we, the collective reader, get an invitation to “assess what the moon has yet to offer.” What does our own future hold in store for us? To what places are we being pulled? It is something I keep considering.

I got this invitation to review Libels on Nature in between traveling through Florida (all of it, from the Everglades to up and down both coasts), Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Kentucky. In fact, my travels delayed my ability to write a response to the chapbook. In reflection, though, I can’t help but think about that brief stint of nonstop travel, as well as all the places I’ve visited before and those I hope to see. What about the ones that, unknown, lay in wait for me? Even existentially. Is there a returning to the womb?

Rounds has created a collection of poems that encourage us to move forward with an outright embrace or willing ponder to whatever comes next. Rounds is brilliant and has aligned beautiful and at times scary poems that might very well serve as our compass to those undetermined but eminent destinations.

--Telly McGaha holds a BA in literature from the University of Louisville and enjoys writing poetry inspired

by living down south, out east and in the Midwest. His fiction has been published in Doorknobs & Body Paint



 The Glass Pillow

 Bread of Tears

Reproachable Optimists 



“Bread of Tears”

a review by Patrick Stevens

Published in Indigo Rising

and The Sound of Poetry Review


“Bread of Tears” is at once engaging and unsettling.  It’s not a “one read and done” collection.  On my first pass through Nathaniel K. Rounds’ work, I found myself wondering just what had happened to Rounds to make him create such disjointed, almost crestfallen characters and imagery.  It was like someone woke up Ezra Pound, made him read the collected works of Bukowski, and then dosed the guy with some serious depressants.

            My first clue into Rounds’ motivations came with some research into the title.  The phrase “bread of tears” is taken from Psalm 80.  The verses around it say the following:

How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people?  You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.  You have made us an object of derision to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us.

            It was then that I began to understand the subjects of Rounds’ poetry.  They are not the subjects of love, objects of affection, or esteemed champions of victory that are the subjects of so many poems before.  They are not even the hard-working, salt of the earth people whose praises are sung throughout the verses of Whitman and others like him.  In a way, they are not subjects of anything.  They are people so defeated by life that they are never mentioned at all.

            Understanding this, Rounds’ poems go from appearing disjointed and melancholy to pointed, unsettling, and often uncomfortable.  From Dina the bloodied washerwoman to the overbearing Timothy Hay to the twins literally left to sea by their more accomplished brother, Rounds forces the reader to stare at the figures in the background of the painting and face the truth: the reason they are back there and not in the foreground is because their lives are so ugly, downtrodden and meaningless that we as polite observers of art would rather ignore them.

            I was desperate for a moral center in the work.  There had to be a moment, however brief, where Rounds gave me the lens through which to view these poems and not feel entirely disconsolate.  With a good deal of relief, I found it in the poem Surreal Estate (Antic Loo, Antic Loo).  In it, Rounds invites the reader to “Graciously barge through the/Sugar-coated throng/Of fair cousins speaking of the weather/To fair weather cousins/And punch holes/Through the local headlines”.  In the end, he says, “All that remains/Is an empty pit/Coated with sugar”.  So it is with the message of “Bread of Tears”.

            The object of poetry, all too often, is to spread a coat of sugar over the world.  It is not quite good enough to call a thing by its real name; some metaphoric replacement full of flowery adjectives must lie in its place on the page.  Rounds is not afraid to call these things as they are; there is no hesitancy to deconstruct people, places and things to simply what they are.  Trees stripped to their raw flesh, a Mossberg 12 gauge, a destroyed mud-caked piano – these are the sights to be seen. 

“And the world is an upturned tree/Of repurposed copper coil and aluminum”, Rounds declares in The Garbage Tree.  Seeing the world through the eyes of these cast-off people, one finds it hard to tell Rounds that he is wrong.

So what is there to say about “Bread of Tears”, in the end?  It is stark, it is unsettling, and it is a place turned on its head by life itself.  Yet somehow, as Rounds forces us to look at the rusted out corners of the world, we may just realize that these are the places unencumbered by congeniality, pleasantries, and all the other trite stuff that makes our own lives often unbearable.  Upon first glance at the people displayed within this collection, I felt sorry for their lots in life.  Yet in the end, the one question I am left with is this: between them and me, who should really have my pity?


Patrick Stevens is an author, poet, and scriptwriter from New Jersey.  His upcoming poetry collection, “Rebirth Under Dead Trees”, will be available from unboundCONTENT in the fall of 2012.    Patrick was a 2011 Pushcart Prize nominee for his poem “Calamity Rani”.  For more information, visit www.ThePatrickStevens.com  



In his collection entitled Reproachable Optimists, the author Nathaniel S. Rounds presents the absurd by plunging deeply into a world of mismatched thinking and incongruous ideas. This

weird world is familiar. We have only to listen to a single evening newscast to know the unreality of reality.



In the poem Peace Work, he shows the futility of many occupations. In our time, tasks have been cut up into units for efficiency hence the term "piece work" has evolved. Then we have

the silly notion that green bananas will improve digestion in old people. Even the smell will enhance bowel movements. How many times have we heard experts proclaim special foods are good or bad for us? Or, perhaps we should embrace certain miracle treatments? Several months later, we find all this advice contradicted. Black skinned bananas are for those in mourning. This shows the employer cares. Our banks want to "serve" us, hospitals have the

"compassion to cure", insurance companies are "on our side". Sound familiar?



The last poem Somnambulist presents us with a sleep walk. Indeed much of the collection has a unreal dream-like quality to it. It is a road only seen by the dreamer. Without prelude or warning, flowers beds are transformed into light bulbs. We are reminded of the philosophers' questioning if life is actually a dream or as Edgar Allen Poe has so beautifully written "a dream

within a dream".



My suggestion is that you walk and laugh with author down his bizarre path and see

the world in all its strangeness.



Reviewed by Joan McNerney



Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as

Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon Books on Blog, Blueline,

63 channels, Spectrum, and three Bright Spring Press Anthologies. She has been

nominated twice for Best of the Net in 2011. Four of her books have been

published by fine literary presses. She has recited her work at the National

Arts Club, New York City, State University of New York, Oneonta, McNay Art

Institute, San Antonio and other distinguished venues. A recent reading was

sponsored by the American Academy of Poetry.




Poems from Fenwick Tower 

The Poetronica Scrolls 

Clefts of the Rock  

(Contains the Pushcart Prize-nominated poem, 

"Piano and Trumpet")

Because So Much Is Riding On Your Unicycle 

It's a High Voltage Adventure 


Meditations on Blue, Yellow and Grey 


Review of Clefts of the Rock

Mr. Round’s story/statements are secret languages (You are a Holy See sea sick host) that in their brevity expand into volumes of thought and history. Although Round’s free verse poems do not flaunt internal rhyme, there is a perfect rhythm to them that poeticizes a commonplace sentence. Mr. Rounds also gives us a sophisticated, dry humor in several of the poems, most noted in his “Judas with Honours” which caught me laughing loudly out loud.


Nathaniel S. Round’s dualities and juxtapositions are brilliant. The last line of his final poem simply resonates with imaginative possibility: One eye envying the dead. It is a joy to read poems that are not contrived, not regurgitated, derivative attempts at wordsmithing, but poems that make you feel as well as think. Someone, like Nathaniel S. Rounds, who shows you without sentimentality, without melodrama and without judgment what you already know but have not taken the time to examine fully… well, now…. that is a poet.


--Alice Shapiro, Poet Laureate of Douglasville, Georgia 


 Review for Because So Much is Riding on Your Unicycle:
The latest chapbook of Nathaniel S. Rounds demands time, but to reap the rewards of his art on both a grand and miniscule scale...ah, well that is pleasure.  His work succeeds not just on different levels, but in different layers all pulsing through the other.  He travels from the oddly specific to the universal, the mundane to the spiritual, with such force I feel like I, as the reader, am being shot out of a gun.  This is not to say that I feel as though I'm being hand-held or like there is no control in his work.  He retains an excellent flair for sound and imagery with lines like "I tapped into a lonely wallflower/All pretty and educated in things clerical."  His voice is so clearly present in all of the poems, whispering in my ear, letting me peer into the minutiae of his world with just a non-judgmental monocle and my senses: "Wow/Thierry Schevchenko/I mean there are few names like it/Inscribed upon American Tourister Tiara luggage sets from 1968. /And the man is still around somewhere/Minus his luggage/Maybe he still has some lady weave his back hair/Into an exotic cape."
I'd love to see an even greater sense of control for future books.  I don't think his journey as a poet is finished quite yet, with excessive flowery and complicated words that work on the surface level but not much more than than, such as "She desired erudition and its appurtenances on an unvarying basis".  These moments are few and far between, as I feel the majority of the book maintains its clean and hilarious nature with simple but brilliant language.  Lines like "The blender spoke in a disdainful teen girl voice/That English-speaking undergrads use/The one who spits out a sentence" are rollicking, but have heart.
I am looking forward to obtaining a similar kind, but matured, pleasure in Rounds's future work.

-Christine Jessica Margaret Reilly 

Christine Jessica Margaret Reilly attended the MFA program at Sarah Lawrence College. She has won full scholarships to the Sarah Lawrence Summer Poetry Seminar and Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets, the Smithson Prize, and was finalist in the Pulled Pork University Chapbook Competition. She has been published in forty-two journals, one anthology and has been named “Editor’s Pick” in one magazine.  Christine is currently writing a novel and lives in New York.


 REVIEWS : “Because So Much Is Riding On Your Unicycle”   Nathaniel S Rounds

By : John S McCallum (Sleeping Poet – Western Australia)            Date : June 2012


This is a collection of works from an esoteric, expatriate, thinker with a somewhat renoiresque style and like all the good impressionists digging deep into life he uses his articulated easel to fiddle with our comfort zones.

Dollar a Load

A banal setting provides the back drop to parody, expose & revel in human nature and the human condition to communicate, while giving us a mirror toward self-understanding or misunderstanding. Well done without too much effort, deep navel gazing and almost funny banter. Whether one chooses to focus on it or not, the piece creates variety in this observation and dialogue. Even us high minded need to wash our undies and better with mates than alone.

Need a Million Men

Poignant and saddening statement of living in a polluted, congested, confusing world, which has permeated the spirit of the young whereby they have become the enemy of themselves instead of fighting the cause as one.

Dress rehearsal for a funeral

A sobering picture indeed… assume man lives an average lifespan is about 26,000 days, the poet has distilled his unremarkable life expressed each day into recognition of this being a dress rehearsal for our own mortality.  Nathaniel's observation of our willingness to participate in the world without connection, cause or joy for the sake of living all whilst shifting our paradigms just a bit.

Eh! Voidable Me'

Bringing the identity to the full face reality of the blandness and the variety, the observation of our life which shows us the scattered but flowing of the patterns we create and form our belief and identity as part of current society.

On Deathly Snog

A sad, lonely, yet professional thinker man occasionally illuminated by the Eves in this world ...  Has sadly resulting a cynical view of love as his story unfolds and paints a vivid picture at times we  all may have experienced such reality. Our minds cannot get such tonic and enchantment without cost in these dark some days.

Pocket Cruiser (weeping)

Nathaniel’s sad journey continues, looking for joy, direction in a faithless life ... seeking to hold and be held by that elusive fragile love which is needed to sustain us all.  Eckhart Tolle’s recent book “A New Earth” describes our “pain bodies” and this piece provides a glimpse.

Because So Much Is Riding On Your Unicycle doesn't take itself too seriously.  Rounds combines humor, philosophy, and the essential elements of humanity throughout this collection. Quirky, while still capturing some of the quiet moments we often overlook.

~Ivy Page, Editor/Poet, OVS Magazine


Review of It’s a High Voltage Adventure


            Nathaniel S. Rounds sits behind the steering wheel of life and weaves a tale of service jobs and common folk. He writes of the fatherhood of pig adoption, whether it be by bequeathing or building a cellar accidentally accessible to creatures. In a Maddening Large Arsonist, thievery reigns and the poem Fake References reveals to us the need to background check even a dog sitter. The poem, Pull, is part reflection, part fear and part anticipation.
            He deeply ponders artwork, calling a landscape painting an entombed land. Pirate Talk is a bit of primate whimsy. The chapbook concludes with You There, a sobering commentary on the shortness of life and the lack of respect for those older than us.
            It’s a High Voltage Adventure examines the day to day, diving in for a bird’s eye view and pulling away for the Big Picture.


            Phyllis Johnson, author of Being Frank with Anne (poetry about Anne Frank) 



And Your Dreams Will Be Used To Sell Burgers And Cars 


 Review of And Your Dreams Will Be Made into Songs that Sell Burgers and Cars 


“And he wants to win

Your gullible heart

And cook it with some garlic on the barbecue

Because in the end, Basho had it all wrong—

Poets want to be fat and well compensated

In the here and now”


Nathaniel S. Rounds’ newest chapbook by Fowlpox Press, And Your Dreams Will Be Made into Songs that Sell Burgers and Cars, starts full of the pleasure of watching a story, and its strife, unfold pell-mell (as if in a lunatic sidecar)as it draws you into the emotional complexity of the poet’s seemingly simple experimental style.

Splicing together sometimes seemingly disconnected people, fractured, Rounds gets everything all mixed up: the poems and their characters are inhabited by a disturbing and representative feature of a world in cages, a world where even a microtone of sorrow or regret are absent and where there is little to no hint of refuge from the quotidian evils of desire inflicted upon us.  Rounds piques my curiosity from the start with “Chicken Nugget Cup Cake” and “the morphine working its magic on her broken back”.  By the time I get to the lines “Chivalry isn’t dead/It’s just in remission…It’s just a coat we sometimes shed /To avoid the heat,” I believe in the ethos Rounds has created.

I praise Rounds for eschewing convention and for sucking up his “unaccounted sorrow” and having the will to run his own race, giving us all a good run for our money.

--N. A’Yara Stein is a nominee for the 2011 Pushcart Prize, was a finalist in the 2011 National Poetry Series, and was nominated twice for the 2010 Pushcart Prize; she holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and is a grant recipient of the Michigan Art Council and the Arkansas Arts Council, among other honors. The former editor of the arts quarterly Gypsy Blood Review, she’s recently published in Verse Wisconsin, The Mayo Review, Ping Pong: The Journal of the Henry Miller Library, The San Pedro Poetry Review, The Delinquent (UK), among others. She teaches at Purdue North Central and lives near Chicago with her sons.  






Press to Read Flip Book:
[In the poem "Missing Pearl", ] David Niven, a character actor, appears with the character’s character and greatest French
novelist in a drama queen role with low life characters of modern deconstruction in a comic social scandal and topical subject of opposite attractions. Here any order of human and animal synergy plays off a chiefly nocturnal insect who vies for our attention with a high brow serious provocateur
.--B.Z. Niditch


Logo Design by FlamingText.com
Logo Design by FlamingText.com

This chapbook included the poem Vodka, selected by guest editor Linda King for inclusion in Mastodon Dentist 29.

I find the writing to be

semantically rich.

 --Dan Hedges,



I was very impressed, and I am not

impressed often these days, reading

contemporary poetry--so much of

which is merely clever or slick.

Mr. Rounds goes instead to the heart 

and guts of the matter, and produces 

poems of great power and beauty.

--Dr. Ronald W. Pies, Poet, and Clinical Professor of

Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine.

































Inexplicably - maybe I was hankering for Asian food - I was drawn to the title, "Megamouth Shark Eats Dongpo Pork with a Spoon," and decided to give it a whirl. To my elation, the poetry within sizzles and sings just as vivaciously as Fowlpox's imagery-intense website.


Round's verse is lucidly hysterical; the poems are pristine universes unto themselves, with jolting juxtapositions and otherworldly characters populating the lines with caffeinated vigor.


Take, for example, the poem inaugurating the collection, "Moralize Mad Windmill":


"I gave the tone-deaf octopus A missionary haircut

(No charge


And using kitchen shears


And punch bowl)


We stood in the rain..."


The poem goes on to relate how the follicled-octopus once played on a baseball team, then ends with some mystical musing:


“I asked if he ever missed the ocean The octopus looked at me quizzically Then laughed gently


"Nah,” he said while making a face “The sun is best seen above water.”


So we can see that Rounds is skilled at intertwining hilariously absurd premises with amusing but pointed cosmic contemplation.


Elsewhere, hallucinatory stream-of-consciousness narratives and surrealistic scenes reign supreme, with Pepto-Bismol taking center stage in the masterful "Love," and Elvis mimickers regenerating their fruit-limbs in the taut but fun "Michaux-Perreaux Steam Velocipede."


But these Dada-esque details do not eclipse slightly saner sociopolitical moments, such as in "NASDAQ (After Hours)," "Spokoynoy, Nochi, Irene," and, most eloquently, in "Arm Chair/Maine":


"...she paints confrontational portraits Of the working class, the unskilled The stubborn dancers in alleyways The people so callused to romance That they prove romantic"


There are also odes to romantic love and familial longing in "House of Myrrh" and "Four Year Old Boy," though the subtle subtext tends to somewhat undermine the messages here, at least how I am interpreting it.


But even such sober verse cannot erase the overall impression of savvy silliness ("Meet me on the other side/Of your personal data" from "Who Moves Who") and impenetrable curiosity ("Bag my heart/if Appropriate," from "Throbbing Spam for Heart").


Alison Ross,

Clockwise Cat 







Very cool.

--Michael Rothenberg, Editor,

Big Bridge Press


LOVED Rockaballad! His poetry is very strong …He also creates a sense of fun and whimsy ... I prefer a unique voice that stands on its own which his does.

--Melissa Fry Beasley, Poet, Editor for Churn Magazine


The layout is very fashion-forward (as they say here in Vilnius, Lithuania), and the poems are strong.

--Rebecca Wolff, author of Manderley, Figment, Editor of Fence



Rockaballads by Nathaniel S. Rounds

2013 Published by Fowlpox Press

Review by Melissa Fry Beasley



Native Texan gone rogue Canadian, Nathaniel S. Rounds is a Pushcart Prize nominee and was shortlisted for the Milton Acorn Poetry Award. In his latest collection of 9 poems with illustrations and photographs, we are opened to seeing a truth that is not afraid of the judgments of a maladjusted society. We are presented with a very real and relevant perspective of the world in all of its ugliness and terrible beauty. “This place is a haven for the hapless and clueless. I am the mayor of this unincorporated refuge. We count storms as citizens.”


I began this journey with no preconceived notion, so I was entirely unsure what to expect as I was also unfamiliar with Mr. Rounds. These poems are very strong and I appreciate the politics as well as the appeal and invitation to 'everyman' because of the accessibility of his work. He naturally creates a sense of fun and whimsy with experimentation. I prefer a unique voice that stands on its own which his does. Nathaniel has masterfully weaved a cross genre quilt that is big enough to cover almost any taste or style. Through heavy concrete imagery and short lines that are concise and cutting he has taken starkness into a most powerful eloquence.

“I didn't choose art.

It chose me.

By grabbing me by the throat

and smashing my senses against the wall.” (from Damage Incurable Jewlery)




 Nathaniel S. Rounds

 Fowlpox Press

 reviewed by Felino A. Soriano,

Founding Editor, Publisher

Counterexample Poetics:
Assemblage of Experimental Artistry



 Prior to delving into the text of Nathaniel S. Round’s Rockaballad an immediate encounter with the artistic layout of the book must first be acknowledged. Virgil Kay, editor/publisher of the press has taken extreme care in font, color choice, background, etc. in presenting Rounds’ text in a way that parallels all aspects, similar to a group dynamic engaging in conversation that results in complete agreement—from all perspectives.



 An immediate discovery becomes apparent upon entering the collection’s initial poem, Altered Stone. Rounds uses a commonality of language (accessible but not clichéd) to engage the reader within various descriptions of the speaker’s environment:


 A polished stone

 Pink and green

 Like unakite

 But born from fantasy

 Sits on the floor

 Of a kitchen cluttered

 By an ugly table, two unrelated chairs


 This environment of disparate though familiar entities reveals early on what the rest of text will relay.  Again, a nod to the book’s layout must be noted: Kay collocates various images (a typical practice for many of the press’ books) that coincide with Rounds’ poems, augmenting in a balanced arrangement.   


 With a language that incorporates gradations of movement, slightly enough away from a type of universal acquaintance, one of this collections strongpoints speaks within its ability to create an understated musicality; the poems move well within each image, unobstructed:


 I felt the storm breath death upon the

 Angry sea

 The sea demanded silence and foamed at

 The mouth

 There were deep sea dances in its


 And death dirges


 The sea wanted to return to them

 Like visitations to a cruel mother

 Or to interval conversations

Before drinking poison

Seeking absolution through finality


 from Krekhts/Gáire, page 11


 Overall, Rockaballad will converse with the reader, —will invite into environments of sculpted economies of language.  What Rounds does well is pronounce surroundings softly, akin to a ballad’s fundamental intention.
























I couldn't have said it better. Whatever it was.

--BILL Griffith, Creator of Zippy 







“Champs de Dubois unites blissful licorice overtones and a bizarre Cap'n Crunch essence in this 2008 Cabernet.”

--Edward Waltham,

Indigo Times 






Chicha Libre - Gnossienne No.1.mp3



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