No Time for Boring Poetry
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Published in: July-August 2024 issue.

by Reginald Shepherd
Edited by Jericho Brown
Univ. of Pittsburgh. 168 pages, $30.


A  NEW COLLECTION titled The Selected Shepherd is a very welcome arrival that may encourage readers to rediscover an award-winning, fiercely intelligent poet, anthologist, and critic. Gone much too soon at the age of 45, Reginald Shepherd showed in his increasingly stronger collections that he was well on his way to becoming a major force in American poetry.

            Born in New York in 1963 and raised in tenements and housing projects in the Bronx, Shepherd went on to hold two Masters of Fine Arts degrees, from Brown and the University of Iowa. He published five poetry collections in his lifetime, all from the University of Pittsburgh Press.* He also edited two anthologies, The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries and Lyric Postmodernisms, and his work seemed to pop up everywhere: in numerous anthologies, journals, and four editions of the annual Best American Poetry series. His poem “Pleasure” appeared in the Jan.-Feb. 2003 issue of this magazine. Shepherd was a visiting professor at the University of West Florida, living in Pensacola with his partner Robert Philen, when he died of colon cancer in 2008.

     Judiciously selected by Pulitzer Prize winner Jericho Brown, The Selected Shepherd contains poems from all five of his books and from the posthumous collection Red Clay Weather (2011).

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Reginald Harris, a writer and poet based in Brooklyn, is the author of Ten Tongues (2003) and Autogeography (2013).