Blood Percussion


Nate Marshall, 2014


Button Poetry Prize 2013 – Runner-Up

Praise for Nate Marshall

Nate Marshall was paying close attention when Chuck D said, “Rap is CNN for Black people.” In his hard-hitting chapbook, Blood Percussion, Marshall takes the Hard Rhymer’s words and masterfully applies them to poetry, turning his eye toward gun play, free lunches, skull caps, prayers, and praise songs. With wit and fierce music, these poems take on the subjects that can’t find a space on the evening news, reminding the reader again and again that there is power and grace in truth-telling even when those truths are difficult to hear.

—Adrian Matejka, author of Somebody Else Sold the World

With language that swerves, spars, and startles, Nate Marshall’s Blood Percussion adamantly asks us to consider our youth as more than mere statistics or headlines. These poems fearlessly embody the voices of boys and girls who grieve, wander, love, dream. In a world where appearances are consistently privileged, Marshall’s poems remind us how necessary it is to render the interiors of those whose lives we cannot let slip into the cracks of the very sidewalks we all traverse.

-Tarfia Faizullah, author of Registers of Illuminated Villages

What can be said? Blood Percussion is what it sounds like it is: A full body experience, poems that wail & juke in every register. Each page of this thing carries a lyric force that’ll make you sit upright or throw the book against the wall or just sit there for a second, shook, wondering where all the room in the room went. It’s not just that Nate Marshall can flat-out write. Yes, the formalistic elegance of these poems is certainly worth the price of admission all by itself, but there’s also a singular courage to this work, an engagement with the fullness of its characters’ lives that makes every stanza feel like celebration in the face of danger on all sides, the beautiful refusal of dominant narratives that would seek to quell such fire, such love. These are poems to be read aloud and often. This is the difficult music we need.

-Joshua Bennett, author of Owed

About Nate Marshall

Nate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. He is coeditor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket Books, 2015) and author of the chapbook Blood Percussion (Button Poetry, 2014). His book Wild… MORE

Additional information

Weight2.9 oz
Dimensions5.5 × 8.5 × 0.125 in


Page Count

42 page

Publication Date

August 1, 2014

Author Hometown

Chicago, Illinois



eBook ISBN