THIS PARTY OF THE SOFT THINGS by Nhatt Nichols
120 x 170mm, 80 pages, Black & white printed, Perfect bound, Softcover, Ed. of 500, 2021
“I angle home / my neighbors on their porches with wine / my old mailbox / it isn’t a lot / but I already miss it” Once upon a time, Nhatt Nichols, a poet and graphic journalist working out of a hut on the Olympic Peninsula, followed forest paths in search of the sea and something resembling clarity, even as she faced up to the ambiguities of being fully alive during an age of malaise, collapse, and extinction. Returning to her writing and drawing hut, Nhatt set to work on “This Party of the Soft Things,” a book-length poem written and illustrated over the course of a year.
“This Party of the Soft Things” can be described as a highly re-readable picture book for adults, with its fifty graphite drawings plotting and expanding upon Nhatt’s poem and the trek underpinning it. The poem pivots between ruminative present-day interludes and accelerations into a distant future in which humans lose their claim to proper nouns (“texas” is just that and no more) as armies of potato bugs, air forces of mosquitos, and navies of sharks ascend. In the meantime, planetary implications are localized by a backroad and a mailbox, a mug and a bottle of rye. And in lieu of a shiny grail at quest’s end, Nhatt embraces the radical solace of a future humans won’t be around to endanger. “Soon enough we’ll be beyond cakes / nothing sliced in celebration / just a sea salt smoked honey sunshine”