I very much admire the diversity and accomplishment of Nakell’s writing project. He is certainly a very engaging poet and his prose seems to me a solid complement in every way to that same work. The Library of Thomas Rivka is an impressive and very engaging book!
What gives Mr. Nakell’s fiction its powe is its relentless will to penetrate the mysteries of our lives while at the same time never pretending to know what it does not know. The universe of the story, unlike those of the old traditional well-made story, is suddenly more complex than the reader had realized.
The Library of Thomas Rivka is a unique and fascinating work that could well serve as a template for others.
A visit to Thomas Rivka’s library enriches with a secret wisdom.
Just when you think it’s all been done in the novel, a novel of ideas can still reflect its own rich traditions even as it mirrors them in ways that are meaningful to our contemporary cultural field, where neither people hnor institutions can be explained by naïve looking.
Steve Tomasula, The Review of Contemporary Fiction
The author of these books is learnéd…even when the book is concerned with domestic and working matters. There is a detached, almost translator-like tone to the telling that never spills into irony or skepticism, although it is poised to do so.
Martin Nakell : The Myth of Creation (Parentheses Writing Series), a chapbook of fiction, Ramon, and the novels The Library of Thomas Rivka (Sun & Moon Press) and Two Fields That Face & Mirror Each Other (2001, Sun & Moon Press). Winner of the Gertrude Stein Award in Poetry for 1996-199 and an NEA Interarts Grant, he was also a finalist for the America' s Award in Fiction, 1997 (for The Library of Thomas Rivka), a finalist in the New American Poetry Series for 1999.
Nakell has published poetry and fiction extensively in journals, including recent publications of poetry in Proliferations (San Francisco), Ribot (Los Angeles), ReMap (Boston and Los Angeles),
and fiction in Literal Latte (New York), Hanging Loose (New York), Hyper Age (San Francisco), Subvoicity (London). Three chapters from Two Fields That Face and Mirror Each Other have been published in literary journals, including Washington Review and Onyx.
He has held fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown (poetry), from the Blue Mountain Center (fiction and screenwriting), from Writers and Books (poetry and fiction), from the State University of New York at Albany; he has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, from Chapman University, from the University of California. He was a panelist for the America Awards in fiction for 1998, a panelist for the Los Angeles Arts Commission in 1999, and serves on the panel of the "100 Most Important Books of the Twentieth Century" for The Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Literature of The Contemporary Arts Educational Project, Inc. Recently, Visual Poetics, Inc., a Los Angeles film company, optioned three of his short stories (Ramon; Thomas; Monsieur B., the Irish Poet), for a film entitled A Heisenberg Trilogy.
Martin Nakell earned a Doctorate of Arts from the State University of New York at Albany, and is Professor of Literature at Chapman University, and Visiting Professor in Creative Writing at the
University of California at San Diego.