NATHANAEL URIE was born in Saint Albans, Vermont. He attended Keystone College and the University of Glasgow. Two of his poems were recently accepted for publication by The New York Quarterly. He works throughout the United States as a writer and photographer for the American railroad industry and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. 


where we are scattered

there is nothing much south of Oklahoma City
but the state looks exactly like its name
the prairies are the sights out of an encyclopedia
you read as a kid, or a Western you saw at
your grandmother’s house on the Zenith
or the cover of a novel you saw once at an antique store
under a stack of post cards

the barren parking lot of a gas station littered
with shells of sunflower seeds
and a large splatter of orange vomit
in the parking spot,
an old man bent at the neck, carrying
a case of beer to his red pick-up truck,
the brim of his American Legion baseball cap
covering his eyes from the sun



when mountains make champagne

I wish I lived in the Yukon
where at the end of each day

I could pour a small amount
of gold dust on an aluminum scale

and let it drift into a plastic bag

at least when I put my hands in the dirt
I could know that there might be money in there,

and when my boss told me to move
some ground with a shovel
it would be a purposeful heave over my shoulder

working through the winter would mean something again,
like it used to, when a giant pile of burning sticks
was what brought warmth at the end of the day

our blue tin shack housing the real tools of wealth,
a pick axe, a snowmobile and a bulldozer

making an opening in the earth when
none could be made in our lives

the earth not as deep as our thoughts
but giving something we could put our hands on,
red and yellow flowers appearing in the sandy dirt

and each cloud that passed was as giant
as the mountains surrounding us,
something to be observed without words




when I drive off into the sunset
I hope it’s in a Cadillac Eldorado

but I don’t care if it’s a hearse

just something that has to take its time
getting there,

something that moves low to the ground

take a look in the paper at the kitchen table
and there I would be

in a black and white photograph
of better days or the last good one

relaxed at the wheel of a fishing boat,
long jowls under a navy blue cap,
my face wrinkled from staring into the sun,

me, a fool, still believing
there was gold somewhere

a few good poems published
a few good real estate investments

more luck with money than with women
and sometimes neither

if only they knew I had died
more times than I had lived

they would have discovered the secret
of why I kept smiling so long


All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet.


  1. William Zeranski avatar
    William Zeranski

    There aren’t that many American poets that have the sense of the American voice, and not being from academia Nathanael Urie’s poetry has that working man’s quality, which is rare these days and very powerful. I hope to see more of his work here.

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The Glasgow Review of Books (ISSN 2053-0560) is an online journal which publishes critical reviews, essays and interviews as well as writing on translation. We accept work in any of the languages of Scotland – English, Gàidhlig and Scots.

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