This Party of the Soft Things by Nhatt Nichols
Book-length poem and graphite drawings by Nhatt Nichols
“Nhatt’s book provides the reader with a sense of presence and urgency, welcoming the need to be wild-eyed and hopeful, too. It reminds us that nature speaks up in multitude, and that there is simply no real silencing it.”
“This gentle, quietly heartbroken illustrated poem follows a walk in the woods through its beauty and sadness, unearthing pill bugs, lamenting human desecration, and extolling the explosion of lilacs that will follow long after human beings have scrubbed themselves from this planet.”
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
Edition of 500; 2nd printing of 500 (2023)
80 pages, paperback, 12×17 cm, b&w offset, sewn & glued
Printed on Arctic Munken Print Cream 115 and Pure Rough 300
Designed by Damian Nowak
Nhatt Nichols grew up on a mountaintop in the Okanogan Highlands. Raised among survivalists, she developed the ability to observe the world around her from the perspective of a permanent outsider. She is now a poet and graphic journalist living and working on the Olympic Peninsula. Morels, an illustrated novella, will be published by Bored Wolves in 2024.