Coming Soon!

You, Beast is scheduled for publication by the University of Wisconsin Press in early 2016.

Recent Press

Susan Mitchell selects You, Beast for Brittingham Prize in Poetry

With Poems Previously Appearing In

Blackbird, BODY, Copper Nickel, Gettysburg Review, jubilat, Minnesota Review, New England Review, and Pleiades


You, Beast explores the many intersections of human and animal lives. It considers everything from roaches scuttling across the kitchen floor to pigs whose heart valves can replace our own, from a dove killed by a fastball pitch to a stork imprisoned under suspicion of espionage, from a child’s drawing of a bee to online videos of a bear attacking a woman. Mythology, language, politics, art, and food: the book tracks the troubled ways we define our humanness through and against the animals around us. The book makes use of a variety of forms, from found poems (like a letter composed entirely of race horse names), to short plays that enact contemporary fables, to a lyric essay on witnessing violence in the internet age, to a villanelle in the voice of a horse. The book’s exhaustive catalogue of high and low culture reveals how human and animals lives remain thoroughly intertwined. By examining our varied interactions with these animals—some benign, some destructive—You, Beast probes the roots of human empathy: what minds are we willing to enter, what feelings are we capable of sharing, and what pain (human and animal) do we choose to shut out? In poems both grim and humorous, the book asks what it means to imagine our way into the minds of others, and what happens when we fail to do so.

About the Book

Praise for the Book

Nick Lantz knows the blades and shrieks and pleasures and sweet sick twists in our human hearts, in our early-21st-century video-crazy and politically screwed-up human hearts, and his booklength bestiary is a way of forcing us to look, hard and long, in our own mirrors. Poem by poem, book by book, he is becoming one of our time’s best poets, and a piece like “Polar Bear Attacks Woman…” is a poem for this moment in the way Auden and Yeats and Rich and Dickey and Komunyakaa gave us poems for their moments. Tragic and funny and wise and deft, You, Beast is a zootopic book you’ll want to hold repeatedly in your homo sapiens hands.

—Albert Goldbarth

The worst thing a writer can do is offer us what we want—or worse still, what we expect. By contrast, Nick Lantz gives us what we could least have anticipated, then goes about making it seem the most natural thing in the world. Page after page, throughout You, Beast, Lantz reveal himself as the contemporary Revelator, discovering the lush, giddy, terrifying world anew and, as he does, renewing our pledge with the real real.

—John Burnside

Nick Lantz's masterful and deeply moving fourth poetry collection, You, Beast, raises political and social questions that urge us toward a new world where humans, animals, plants—even the cockroach—are worthy of respect. Not to realize the equality of all forms of life is what it means to be a beast. Sometimes brutally sarcastic, other times delicately tender, Lantz has a genius for entering into the other and simultaneously dramatizing multiple viewpoints. At the same time that the book's narrators and performers often behave like Hamlet holding up a mirror for humans to view their crimes, they can also be coolly balanced, rational, and logical as in an essay where a speaker who, I suspect, is very close to Lantz the poet, says "Is this a failure of courage, I ask, this inability to look?" You, Beast invites its readers to look—at themselves as both actors and audience, performers and viewers, of their own human history.

—Susan Mitchell