"The word 'fire' misheard as “father;” a ukulele becoming more a challenge than an instrument; the very light, a thief that slips through a window: over and over, in these poems, Nathan McClain pressures the world and reconfigures it. His poetry, despite being anchored in family, in family life and its hardships, is no tired retelling of autobiography. McClain does the difficult work of transforming his stories, of turning his stories into our own. Scale is an incredible debut."
—C. Dale Young, author of The Halo
"Just when I’d despaired of reading a poet who writes one line at a time, one poem at a time, assiduous to steer clear of the Big Project or the High Concept, Nathan McClain’s Scale shows up! He doesn’t take easy political stances, or preach or preen on the moral high ground, or show off his sensibility. Instead, he writes poems of real feeling and quiet integrity that are verified by their passionate understanding of how form, emotion, and music entail each other in the best and most lasting art. McClain’s kind of talent is rare in any generation."
—Tom Sleigh, author of Army Cats and Station Zed
"Nathan McClain’s Scale, is a wrenching account of fathers, where father is fire, is Agni, is life-giver and destroyer, where sons are left to manage in the wake of conflagration. Sons who will smolder and grow to absently consume what gets too close. McClain doesn’t claim a phoenix’s rise from the ash, or any other instead expected ascendant gesture, instead Scale allows for the far rarer necessary explorations of male vulnerability, fragility, fear and cycles of upending sorrow. Because the scales aren’t balanced in a father’s absence. Because, as McClain notes, 'who hasn't done that—loved so intently even after everything has gone? Loved something that has washed its hands of you?' Scale will not allow its reader to turn away, or deny its harder truth. Scale is a daring, unrelenting interrogation of loss, silence, and longing in the plaintive cry of a son among so many other sons."
—Vievee Francis, author of Forest Primeval