Kirk Nesset's Saint X chronicles the muted joy and despair of a millennial age, charting love's ills and the grind of mortality. His figures are bizarre but familiar: people born under punches, shaken awake by rattles and flares, latter-day pilgrims who stare at the statue that stares at America; people for whom disobedience is still a first duty, and death but a question of style. Wearing bandages rather than smiles, they're misshapen champions downed by self-bludgeons, perversely on foot while the saddled horse follows-and yet in each case, in each poem, they are honoured if not saved by nuanced reflection, measured perception, and the pleasures of song.
Kirk Nesset is author of two books of short stories, Paradise Road (University of Pittsburgh Press) and Mr. Agreeable (Mammoth Books), as well as a book of translations, Alphabet of the World (University of Oklahoma Press), and a nonfiction study, The Stories of Raymond Carver (Ohio University Press). He is recipient of the Drue Heinz Prize in Literature, a Pushcart Prize, and grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. His stories, poems, translations and essays have appeared in The Paris Review, Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Gettysburg Review, American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Ploughshares, Agni, Prairie Schooner and elsewhere, including three of Norton's anthologies: Flash Fiction Forward, New Sudden Fiction and Sudden Fiction Latino. He teaches creative writing and literature at Allegheny College, and is writer in residence at Black Forest Writing Seminars (Freiburg, Germany).