King of Shadows
by Aaron Shurin
City Lights Books. 171 pages, $16.95
MAINLY KNOWN as one of the royals of the San Franciscan avant-garde poetry scene, Aaron Shurin has produced a collection of 21 short prose pieces, King of Shadows, which offers up some of the joys of reading a poet’s prose. One gets to know the poet, who describes himself as “the bastard son of Robert Duncan and Frank O’Hara,” far better here than his sometimes oblique poetry would allow. Careful readers can enjoy the poet’s linguistic and imaginative acrobatics as they transform his words into a lyrical prose.
The pieces Shurin assembles in King of Shadows range in tone from the ecstatic to the elegiac.