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The Endless Animal

Nathan Mader


The poems in The Endless Animal dwell where the desire haunted, metaphysical habitat of a human consciousness meets an animal kingdom of actual and archetypal beasts. Alongside lyrically charged explorations of the self, you’ll find a Basho-inspired haibun that invokes both David Bowie and the ghosts of Kyoto, an 11th-century monk obsessed with fashioning wings, and the first NASA space monkey to survive returning to Earth from orbit. In this collection, Nathan Mader wrestles with spirituality, bisexual eroticism, art, various animal ecologies, and the culturally defined notions of masculinity he encountered growing up on the Canadian prairies while remaining open to the imaginative possibilities of poetry. 

About the author

Nathan Mader’s poems have previously been published in The Fiddlehead, Plenitude, The Ex-Puritan, The Antigonish Review, Grain, PRISM, Vallum, Rilking, and The New Quarterly. He was included in The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 (Tightrope Books) and was a finalist for The Walrus Poetry Prize.

First printing
62 pages
ISBN | 978-1-7773561-1-8
Editor | Ivanna Baranova
Cover art | Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber


“12 or 20 questions with Nathan Mader” – rob mclennan’s blog


“Nathan Mader’s poems, in their highest moments of vision, see eternity and the animal in a non-contradiction. They say that our world exists ‘between / mastery and rapture, craft and caress’ by doing the same themselves. Mader writes a prophetic memory of witnessing ‘ten thousand birds / becoming one mind’ and how once ‘we rose / up together to meet them.’”

—A. F. Moritz, author of The Garden and As Far As You Know

“Nathan Mader’s The Endless Animal brims with a wisdom surprising and uncommon in a first book. The poems migrate across the North American West and on to Japan, in a collection concerned with time, sexuality, pop culture, and that most elegant and elusive animal—spirit. Readers encounter Rodin sculptures in civic centers in Nebraska, Blake’s tiger in a taxidermy exhibit, and David Bowie in a Zen Garden. The renderings are sharp—precise as a chef’s knife that can ‘part a salmon like a pair of lips.’ Here is a mind dwelling ‘between / mastery and rapture’ and returning us with gratitude ‘to the things of this earth.’ An auspicious debut.”

—Randy Lundy, author of Field Notes for the Self and Blackbird Song

“After reading the first sentence—‘I was as an orchid wearing nothing but / the light.’—I was instantly hooked. This sentence is indicative of the rest of the book. Imagery that deepens wonder and a reckoning gaze abounds. The speakers interrogate the spectrum and the outcomes of violence: guns, rote masculinity, drones, and extinction. The Endless Animal is a timely and beautifully written book.”

—Eduardo C. Corral, author of Slow Lightning and Guillotine 

The Endless Animal is a beguiling, brilliant and paradoxical exploration of the world we inhabit yet strain to fully perceive. A poem about a nineteenth-century spirit photographer, attempting to put the ineffable in his frame, expresses the double struggle of the poet to see in the light of poetic mystery, and to be seen as a subject in that light. A superabundance of curiosity animates this collection, whose questions of knowing and being put strange things into play, not limited to the animal proxies through whom humans test their metaphysical impulses: prim dowager monkeys sent into space, tigers hunted with perfume. Readers will marvel at this poetry’s high formality and its ability to be philosophical and sensual at the same time. If Emily Dickinson expressed the manifold potential of her life in the phrase “My Life had stood – a Loaded Gun –,” then the reverberations of that shot pass through this collection, striking and sounding in altogether new ways.

—Medrie Purdham, author of Little Housewolf