“Jim Natal’s irresistible Spare Room follows his collection of haibun titled 52 Views. Page by page, Natal extends the range of the haibun, his topics richly contemporary. Each prose passage, eloquently bagging the particulars of this American life, is then transmuted by the cool snap of a haiku rooted in universal nature. It is a kind of call and response, a scrupulous call that elicits a poetic amen. Leavened by modesty and good humor, by turns personal and sociopolitical, Spare Room is also a very good read.”
Jim Natal is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Spare Room: Haibun Variations and 52 Views: The Haibun Variations, both written entirely in an intimate updating of the Japanese haibun form—a blending of prose and haiku-like short poems—dating back to haiku master Bashō in the late 1600s. Natal’s previous full-length lyric collections include Memory and Rain; Talking Back to the Rocks; and In the Bee Trees, a finalist for the PEN America and Publisher’s Marketing Association Ben Franklin Awards. A former executive for National Football League Properties in Los Angeles, and a multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee, his poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He is the founding director of the long-running Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona, and co-founder of indie publishing house Conflux Press.