Tim Nolan was born in Minneapolis in 1954 and graduated from teh University of Minnesota in 1978 with a B.A. in English. He and his wife Kate moved to New York City in 1978 where he obtained an M.F.A. degree in writing from Columbia University, worked as an archivist at the Whitney Museum, and read the poetry slush pile for The Paris Review. Tim returned to Minnesota in 1985 and received his law degree from William Mitchell College of Law in 1989.
Nolan now practices in litigation with the McGrann Shea Law firm, and lives with his wife Kate and their three kids in South Minneapolis.
For some reason Nolan’s slightly creepy poem about a bullhead fish struck me as perfect on what is forecast to be an unbearably hot summer’s day.
We used to throw them back,
disgusted with their prominent
white skulls, bulging eyes,
black shoestring whiskers.
They deeply offended our sense
of what a fish should be. Dirty
scavengers, eating everything
off the sludge bed. They seldom
played on the line, but took bait
with a heavy, impolite thump,
their white bellies rolling
toward the boat. They slid out
of water like drenched birds
snarled in seaweed, their mouths
bleeding from the hooks. Always
we threw them back, down to Hell
where they would think to rise again.
– “Bullhead” by Tim Nolan, as it appears in his collection The Sound of It, published by New Rivers Press. Reprinted here with permission from the author.