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My entire life as a writer, I've envied Campbell McGrath's searing intelligence and buoyant wit. His poems allow me to laugh–and to cringe–at myself, and America, and the whole human race. And they allow me to reclaim and forgive something in all of us. Nouns & Verbs is a lifelong manifesto on joy and vigor, a message in a bottle for all of us who "scrabble within the skin of time / like mice in the belly of a boa constrictor."

--Tracy K. Smith

Campbell McGrath has been immersing him splendid lyric imagination in American reality--his and everyone else's-- for three decades and more; and has seen its tragedies, absurdities, melancholies, and beauties from the vantage of the moment and that of eternity. The result of his long passion
is this vast, intricate tapestry of fact and feeling and thought and meaning displayed in this magnificent book.

--Vijay Seshadri

Campbell McGrath never fails to capture the velocity of America "in all its splendid yearning to be lost and longing to belong." His poems, first to last, are songs and inventories riding the rails of transfixing sense and syntax. They are animated and brassy as America itself. Nouns & Verbs reminds us
of McGrath's singular, essential stature in contemporary American poetry.

--Terrance Hayes

A poetic history of the twentieth century from one of our most beloved, popular, and highly lauded poets—a stirring, strikingly original, intensely imagined recreation of the most potent voices and searing moments that have shaped our collective experience.

XX is award-winning poet Campbell McGrath’s astonishing sequence of one hundred poems—one per year—written in a vast range of forms, and in the voices of figures as varied as Picasso and Mao, Frida Kahlo and Elvis Presley. Based on years of historical research and cultural investigation, XX turns poetry into an archival inquiry and a choral documentary. Hollywood and Hiroshima, Modernism and propaganda, Bob Dylan and Walter Benjamin—its range of interest encompasses the entire century of art and culture, invention and struggle.


Elegiac and celebratory, deeply tragic and wickedly funny, XX is a unique collection from this acknowledged master of historical poetry, and his most ambitious book yet.

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