Patrick Coleman

Patrick Coleman writes prose poems, fiction, essays, and other things.


Patrick Coleman's writing has appeared in Hobart, ZYZZYVA, Zócalo Public Square, the Black Warrior Review, and the Utne Reader, among others. His debut collection of poems, Fire Season, won the 2015 Berkshire Prize from Tupelo Press. His first novel, The Churchgoer, will be published by Harper Perennial in July 2019. The Art of Music, an exhibition catalogue on the relationship between visual arts and music that he edited and contributed to, was co-published by Yale University Press and the San Diego Museum of Art. He earned an MFA from Indiana University and a BA from the University of California Irvine. He lives in Ramona, California, with his wife and two daughters, and is Assistant Director of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UC San Diego.


Fire Season

Winner of the 2015 Berkshire Prize from Tupelo Press

december 1, 2018

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Prose poems, written aloud into a digital recorder on his commute to and from his former job as a low-level art museum curator, that chart economic anxieties, new parenthood, working among art objects, and the southern California landscape that burned in the 2007 Witch Creek fire.

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The Churchgoer

Forthcoming from Harper Perennial

July 30, 2019

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In Mark Haines’s former life, he was an evangelical youth pastor, a role model, and a family man—until he abandoned his wife, his daughter, and his beliefs. Now he’s marking time between sunny days surfing and dark nights working security at an industrial complex. His isolation is broken when Cindy, a charming twenty-two-year old drifter he sees hitchhiking on the Pacific Coast Highway, hustles him for a breakfast and a place to crash—two cynical kindred spirits.

Then his co-worker is murdered in a robbery gone wrong and Cindy disappears on the same night. Haines knows he should let it go and return to his safe life of solitude. Instead, he’s driven to find out where Cindy went, under stranger and stranger circumstances. Soon Mark is chasing leads, each one taking him back into a world where his old life came crashing down—into the seedier side of southern California’s drug trade and ultimately into the secrets of an Evangelical megachurch where his past and his future are about to converge. What begins as an investigation becomes a haunting mystery and a psychological journey both for Mark, and for the elusive young stranger he won’t let get away.

Set in the early 2000s, The Churchgoer is a gripping noir, a quiet subversion of the genre, and a powerful meditation on belief, morality, and the nature of evil in contemporary life.



The Art of Music

Exhibition catalogue (Editor and contributor)

published by yale university press and the san diego museum of art

An illustrated and interdisciplinary look at the mutual influence between music and the visual arts across cultures and eras.


Short Prose

Selections of some previously published stuff.

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Into the Impossible

hosted, produced, and edited for the arthur c. clarke center for Human imagination at UC San diego

A podcast on how we imagine, and how what we imagine shapes what we do, in the spirit of Arthur C. Clarke's law that the only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.

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