AMERICAN MASSIF follows the first stages of one American Mastodon in his attempts to evolve. His life begins to resemble a human life. His mother appears human. His wife and children, human. His own birthplace and childhood. His appetites, sins, faith, cynicism, big plans. All apparently human. At the same time, all of these things are relinquished or increasingly subject to the story of his own extinction. The massif’s landscapes are as varied as pinewoods, clay hills and prairie, but grow more abstract. In his naive way, A.M. moves through or ponders the Higgs Field, art, national and family states of emergency. From his own house to an airport, from volcano to museum, he goes foraging for images good enough to eat, for friends, for antidotes to apocalypse. Perhaps no more human by the end, A.M. still bears his “girth and melancholy,” though having shed some of the illusions, like vestiges, with which he started. Dazed as much as sobered, he feels himself released into the world like a new habitat—however threatened. Rather, like the Pompeian who returns to her city, the Mastodon comes into his own.
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Nicholas Regiacorte was born and raised in southern Maine. Since that time, he's lived in Florida, gone to college in Virginia, worked on roofing crews, worked in a deli, and earned his MFA in poetry from the University of Iowa. He's had the good fortune to live in Italy, once on a Fulbright year in Campania, the second time as a Visiting Professor in Florence. His poems have appeared in 14 Hills, Copper Nickel, New American Writing, Descant, Bennington Review, and elsewhere. He currently teaches at Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois, where he lives with wife and two little boys.