Goodness Gracious


Goodness Gracious


Winner of the Foundlings Press Wallace Award for poetry chapbooks. Nicholas Molbert's GOODNESS GRACIOUS explores creation, distance, landscapes, and the passing of lives. As cover artist Edreys Wajed puts it, "These poems are light as feathers, hit hard as bricks."

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Praise for Goodness Gracious

"'Tell me the Lord's no better a creator / than we are,' challenges the stunning opener, 'Hurricane Season.' 'I've taken things too & / moved them to what I thought were better places.' GOODNESS GRACIOUS follows life in a small Louisiana town through a series of evocative vignettes: fishing trout out of Bayou DuLarge, disposing of canefield rats flattened by a tractor, or an unkindness of ravens keeping watch over an above-ground pool. Nicholas Molbert has a knack for noting period brands—Natty Light, Eggos, Sketchers, Swifter—quirky particulars that offset the eternal grief attached to losing a family patriarch. As climate change and American industry apply ever more pressure to rural communities, these poems wear dirt under their fingernails and blood on their sleeves; they are vital, beautifully shaped, and timely."—Sandra Beasley

"Charged with memory and desire, haunted by heaven and lineage, Nicholas Molbert's poems are sluiced with physical and spiritual longing, unexpectedly tender, sometimes funny, and always moving. He pairs gritty details and startling images in lines alive with lyrical pulses: 'See the neighbor's girl scraping / flattened canefield rats / from tractor ruts with paper / twice-halved,' and 'lay them in a penny-layered / shoebox like the bones of small gods...' His Gulf is intricately painted, one of bayous and creosote and catfish, one of blue collar work and roughneck truths, one of dreams and unlikely redemptions, where the beauty and danger of the natural world is juxtaposed with the human, where an 'electric knife's bijou blades / sing to softbelly,' just before a girl cuts 'through the tender canal / of her wrist between / radius and ulna,' and where 'Let there bes' are heard alongside 'rig talk.' Molbert's GOODNESS GRACIOUS is an assured debut."—Mark Wagenaar

"GOODNESS GRACIOUS indeed! Molbert vividly reimagines the southern Louisiana of his youth and turns a keen, questioning eye toward manhood, faith, family, and love. These lyrical, emotionally resonant poems draw readers into evocative memories and storytelling. Not afraid of hope, humor, or the whims that make us human, this debut collection shines like sunlight on the waters of the Gulf."—Janice N. Harrington

About the author

Originally from Louisiana's Gulf Coast, Nicholas lives and writes in Southern Ohio as a PhD student in poetry at the University of Cincinnati. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming in journals such as The Adroit Journal, American Literary Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Missouri Review Online, Ninth Letter, Permafrost, and Pleiades Book Review among others. He is the author of the poetry chapbook GOODNESS GRACIOUS (Foundlings Press, 2019).

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