Kings of the f--king Sea

The Kings Of The F**King Sea

Dan Boehl, with Images by Jonathan Marshall

More a play or unfilmable film than a book of poems, more a wish than a journey, Kings of the F**king Sea opens with a prologue to guide the reader.

Kings of the F**king Sea unfolds to reveal a world that exists on the edge of society but is subservient to it, a world of artists, poets, merchants, sailors, and soldiers who break themselves against the sea and the vast unknowable opportunity it represents. As one poem goes, “The world invents, the sea discloses, and irony isn't a necessary tool for successful men." On the sea, as in art, some make it and others die nameless, destitute of love, forgotten.

Conceived by poet Dan Boehl and artist Jonathan Marshall, Kings of the F**king Sea is the culmination of their four-year friendship and collaboration. The book features full-color images of Marshall's drawings, paintings, collages, and sculptures, working in tandem with the poems to flesh out a beautiful, broken, psychedelic, and necessary tale of artist expression and its failure.

What People Are Saying

Zachary Schomburg

I often have a difficult time distinguishing between the memories of my childhood nightmares, the movie Time Bandits, and now Kings of the F**king Sea. At the heart of each is an unrecoverable distance from home. In Dan Boehl's poems, the sea is not home. If we stay on it, we will eventually drown in it, but there is nothing we can do. His poems are unforgivably wise. Like the sea, they are an unafraid mirror. And though they remind us it's always too late–that our adventure is a constant failure–their beauty keeps us afloat for just long enough.


“There is no level / in my mind, in other words / the world." Are you about to read this book? I think you must be ready. Dan Boehl's poems are a talisman, a supernatural scaffold over our neglected conscience. Everything happens, and it stings, and is beautiful when it's not awful.

Inside the Book

Poetry / Art
Perfect-bound. 116 pp
8.8" x 5.9"
Publication Date:
March 2011


Margaret Meehan


Michael Flatt

New Pages

From the Book

La Pendaison


(The Hangman's Tree)

There is a Japanese proverb that
says any person who can fold
1000 cranes is granted one wish.
This is the part where a crane
folds 1000 people. This is the
part where the swallow slays the
dragon. This is the night. This is
the night. 1000 people hang
from one tree. There is this part
I never told you. Half of those
people used to be my neighbors.
The other half were my friends.

Map(of the New World)


Remember how smoke

issued from the stacks
like the dreams of factories
when factories were the dreams of cities and cities were the dreams

of our immigrant parents?
There are no factories.The city rises in a cacophony of billboards dreamt for us
like the factories and the steam
of our orphaned language.
Or is there
another dream?
I dream of the sea
like a map of the new world
like the whale's wholeness
in the water
a lung in the wilderness dreaming of what down there?
The unimaginable. Picture
the city from the harbor.
There is no city.There is no whale.