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Nick Twemlow

Plam Trees, Book Cover, Nick Twemlow








Nick Twemlow was born in Topeka and now lives in Iowa City. He serves as a senior editor of The Iowa Review and co-editor of Canarium Books, a publisher of contemporary poetry. He is also a filmmaker whose films have been screened at festivals around the world, including Tribeca, SXSW, Slamdance, and Athens.

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Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)  



Palm Trees (Green Lantern Press, 2012)


American Glyptix
The Laying on of Hands
The Trapper
The Fast

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Writing Samples  

Topeka, Topeka

Topeka, half the moon is rotten with shadows pooling in the Sea of Topeka. Topeka, where first I wet my brain with a 40oz bottle of Topeka.
Topeka, is place name, is damn shane, is a mirror made of sand & Topeka. Topeka, you are substandard. I am not. Yet I'm the one on my hands & knees
         searching for the lost key in the prairie grass, ripped on acid, loving the
         fallacy that the black keys equal melancholy, the black keys being
Topeka, miscast capital, you're not more political than a handshake with your
         dream-self upon waking, in my case dream-self lives & dies in Topeka.
Topeka, the sickness cannot be cured of Topeka.
Topeka, tigers laze about the yards, a man with a box balanced on his head, his
         possessions stuffed to brimming trots down Topeka Ave.
Topeka, the sickness will go unnoticed. The vaccine is composed of rare
         sentiments, the kind that love & hate with equal abandon, love & hate,
         love & hate, love & hate. Topeka.
Topeka, there was a night when the moon didn't appear but it appeared
         everywhere else in the world, what happened that night? Topeka?
Topeka, I fear for your life, the intersection of 29th & California is a portal to
        Hell. I died there twenty times in my youth. Today, driving through, I toss
         a bouquet of roses to mark my third death, the one that had a soundtrack
         I can't shake free. My sister sings it from the shower every morning.
         Forecast calls for occasional showers, with the possibility of late-morning
         sleet, in Topeka.
Topeka, cast off the reliquaries! Call your men to war! Me? I'll be tugging one
         last hit from the bong I fashioned out of the shrapnel of Topeka.
Topeka, pop. rarely exceeds one, as in each trip home happens in rewind,
         stepping back across the creek, bird in hand throwing up the worm,
         further back, unbreaking its wing, bird flying off as it resurrected but
         from among the living, there I am, eight years old, seven, six, now a slug
         of semen sucked back into my father, now, as the waters roll back across
         the plains toward the river, a dog coughs up water, lifts its head, sees
         nothing, puts its head back down, this, Topeka, is your history, although
         it never happened.

---From Palm Trees

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  • Princess Grace Foundation Honorarium in Filmmaking (2011)
  • Norma Farber First Book Award from Poetry Society of America (2012)
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