The Prelude
by Marty Cain

ISBN-13: 9780900575167 | $18 | 106 pages | March 1, 2023

“At the creek, sometimes I would get on all fours, crawling through a tunnel that would take me to a small space directly behind the waterfall. I tried screaming in there, and even though no one could hear me, I felt safe. I felt the spray of water, the warmth of refracted sun. The coldness of stone. I called it the Green Room.”

Praise for The Prelude

A furious and sorrowful deep-dive together with Wordsworth through nature, into the pixels of the body, dreams, space, and matter. I feel blown away and grateful that such brutally excessive transformations are still possible. The Prelude is a brilliant and beautiful breakthrough. Marty Cain expands the world with the help of pure explosivity!

— Aase Berg, author of With Deer

Poems of momentous and exhilarating beauty, I’m so attentive and awestruck.

— Dennis Cooper, author of I Wished

Let’s say the young radical Wordsworth wrote his autobiographical epic in a world of backyard skate ramps, Drano, ski shops & heroin deaths. Let’s say The Prelude, a poem Wordsworth described as “the ante-chapel” to “the Gothic church” of a never-completed “Philosophical poem,” was reborn as a recursive splatter of blood, or as a corpse opened to reveal a writhing screen of television static. For French Revolution read: overturned police truck. For the sublime read: panic attack, or LIVING IN THE CORPSE THAT FLOATS ON THE SURFACE. For poetry read: a utopia where we would all be inventors, innovating methods to keep our friends safe. Marty Cain writes against and through Wordsworth’s rural lyricism and toward the end of property, while also recognizing that in the cathedral of capital, the lyric is the rose window, the highest reach of our unliving conditions. the prelude is a frame, Cain writes. these were the fields assigned to me. These fields form a riotous subgarden, arrayed against the gardens and golf courses of power.

— MC Hyland, author of Diary of the Plague Year

Culled from the beauty and roughage that was Wordsworth’s autobiographical energy, Marty Cain’s The Prelude is not unlike a darkened musical chalice that resonates with a form of psychic gore that arrays itself through a window where “the torrent of blood splatters the glass”. What resonates? An ironic poetic principle that haunts the hull of the text with psychological non-sequiturs.

— Will Alexander, author of The Contortionist Whispers

About the Author

Marty Cain is a poet from Vermont. He is the author of Kids of the Black Hole (2017) and The Wound Is (Not) Real: A Memoir (2022), both from Trembling Pillow Press, as well as a chapbook, Four Essays (Tammy, 2019). His individual works appear in Best American Experimental Writing 2020, Fence, Poetry Daily, Denver Quarterly, Sink Review, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA from the University of Mississippi and a PhD from Cornell University, where he wrote a dissertation on rural poetic community. He is currently a postdoc within the Humanities Scholars Program at Cornell, and lives with his spouse and daughter in Ithaca, New York.