Biography of Reginald Shepherd
an American poet, born in New York City and raised in the Bronx. He died of cancer in Penascola, Florida, in 2008.
Shepherd graduated from Bennington College in 1988, and received MFAs from Brown University and the University of Iowa, where he attended the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop. He subsequently taught at Northern Illinois University and Cornell University. In his last year at the University of Iowa, he received the "Discovery" prize from the 92nd Street Y, and his first collection, Some Are Drowning (1994), was chosen by Carolyn Forché for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs' Award in Poetry.
His other collections are: Fata Morgana (2007), winner of the Silver Medal of the 2007 Florida Book Awards; Otherhood (2003), a finalist for the 2004 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Wrong (1999); and Angel, Interrupted (1996).
He is also the author of A Martian Muse: Further Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (published posthumously in 2010), Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (2007) and the editor of The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (2004) and of Lyric Postmodernisms (2008).
His work has been widely anthologized, including in four editions of The Best American Poetry and two Pushcart Prize anthologies. His honors and awards include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council, the Florida Arts Council, and the Guggenheim Foundation. His 2008 book of essays, Orpheus in the Bronx, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism.
Reginald Shepherd's Works:
Some Are Drowning (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993)
Angel, Interrupted (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996)
Wrong (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999)
Otherhood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003)
Fata Morgana (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007)
A Martian Muse: Further Readings on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (Poets on Poetry Series, University of Michigan Press, 2010)
Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry (Poets on Poetry Series, University of Michigan Press, 2008)
The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press, 2004)
Lyric Postmodernisms (Counterpath Press, 2008)
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Reginald Shepherd Poems
Eros In His Striped Blue Shirt
and green plaid shorts goes strolling through Juneau Park at eight o’clock with only a hooded yellow windbreaker for protection, trawling the bushes after work
At that time I didn't understand snow, the absence inside July, water and what holds the water in. Heard "It takes more than a forest
for Chris I'm a penny fallen from heaven's
Michael Who Walks By Night
For his sake drifting away from the true windlessness, torn sails the aftermath of him: white canvas suffering too vaguely from the beautiful agreeing with these arguments,
In that year I was perfect and in mourning Blue glass tends to replace
Drawing From Life
Look: I am building absence out of this room's air, I'm reading suppositions into summer's script snarled on a varnished floor. It looks like a man. That knot's his hand
See my colors fall apart? Green to yellow with just one shade gone, the changing tints of your sun-struck eyes, if there were sun. Today the prism held to mine’s
Orpheus Plays The Bronx
When I was ten (no, younger than that), my mother tried to kill herself (without the facts there can't be faith). One death
What will I call you when you are gone? How will I know your name? Little star, reflection
And then I said, That's what it means to testify: to sit in the locked dark muttering when you should be dead to the world. The muse just shrugged and shaded his blue eyes. So naturally
Kinds Of Camouflage
Then I am sitting naked on damp grass (it rained in my yesterday) while two white gentlemen in black frock coats share lunch
Sir star, Herr Lenz, white season body master snapping masts in half, absent winds’ workmanship: what window will I look you through, what brook, stream
Occurrences Across The Chromatic Scale
The way air is at the same time intimate and out of reach (a void with light inside it turned on a wheel of wheres)
If Orpheus Were Honest With Her
Today I am afraid of ghosts, the things I searched for in you, sang of you. Shining hazard, roundabout, piece of myself you’ve never seen: never
Distance is money just out of reach,
a kindness like rain-laden clouds
that never drops its coins. Epochs
of fossilized trees crawl rusting hillside
strata: they smell like somewhere else
I've never been, an Anatolia
just outside the mind. Geometries
of travel and desire (from here to want
and back again), the myths of pleasure