Reginal Shepherd named finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award

by University of Michigan Press on January 27, 2009

Reginald Shepherd was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award this weekend for his Poets on Poetry series collection, Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry.


Shepherd is one of the rare writers who could transcend the boundaries between poetry and prose, and never more so than in his essays on poetry itself. Under pressure to represent both black men and gay men, he said he turned to poetry as a way to escape those kinds of limitations and
boundaries. “Orpheus” could easily have been a dry academic monograph, but
instead sings, from his opening autobiography – which touches on everything
from death to Greek heroes to X-Men – to his commentary on all nature of poets
and poetry to his once-again-reflective closing remarks on the role of poetry.
“I write not to be bored,” he says in that essay, “Why I Write.” “I hate being
bored, and I don’t want to bore others.”

There’s certainly no danger of that.

The University of Michigan Press is proud and honored to be the publisher of “Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics and the Freedom of Poetry,” by Reginald Shepherd. Published in January 2008. A free tribute reading for Shepherd is planned March 12, 7 p.m., at the Lillian Vernon
Creative Writers House on 58 West 10th Street in New York.

Learn more about Orpheus in the Bronx

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