Jim Natal is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Spare Room: Haibun Variations and 52 Views: The Haibun Variations, both written entirely in an intimate updating of the Japanese haibun form—a blending of prose and haiku-like short poems—that dates back to haiku master Bashō in the late 1600s. Natal’s previous full-length lyric collections include Memory and Rain; Talking Back to the Rocks; and In the Bee Trees, which was a finalist for the PEN America and Publisher's Marketing Association Ben Franklin Awards. He also is the author of three chapbooks (Explaining Water With Water, Oil on Paper, and The Landscape from Behind) and two limited-edition chapbooks (A Collector of Infinity and Rain in L.A.).
A multi-year Pushcart Prize nominee (including 2019), his poetry has been published in Spillway, Hotel Amerika, San Pedro River Review, Los Angeles Review, Alligator Juniper, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among other print and online journals. Natal's work also has appeared in many anthologies, including Los Angeles in the 1970s; Angle of Reflection; New Poets of the American West; Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer's Disease; Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here; Mischief, Caprice and Other Poetic Strategies; What Have You Lost?; and Los Angeles Water Works.
He has been a featured poet at dozens of colleges, bookstores, literary series, and festivals, including the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and West Hollywood Book Fair; the Tucson Festival of Books, Arizona State University’s Desert Nights, Rising Stars, Long Island University, Washington College,
the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival in New Jersey, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Writers in Focus series.
Natal is the founder and director of the Hassayampa Institute’s The Literary Southwest series now in its tenth season at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. He curated and co-hosted the Poem.X and Rose Café poetry series in Santa Monica for more than 10 years and helped establish and coordinate Antioch University’s multi-genre L.A. Writers Series. In spring, 2013, Natal served as a poetry/haiku consultant for the Getty Museum’s show “The Poetry of Paper.”
Along with his work as a literary presenter, he taught writing at Yavapai College and Prescott College, as well as at New Roads School in Santa Monica and led the long-running Plein Air Poetry Workshop held outdoors in Joshua Tree National Park.
A Chicago native, Natal was an executive for the National Football League’s Creative Services Group in Los Angeles for
25 years. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2005. With his wife, graphic designer and book artist Tania Baban, Natal founded Conflux Press in 2003. (). He lives in Los Angeles.