This first collection of poems enacts the struggle of a young black gay man in his search for identity. Many voices haunt these poems: black and white, male and female, the oppressor’s voice as well as the oppressed. The poet’s aim, finally, is to rescue some portion of the drowned and the drowning.
Shepherd's poems are reckless in the best sense. Passionate, brainy, and sad, they chronicle the mysteries, small and large, of emotional and intellectual life in language that's a weird amalgam of Latinate and Anglo-Saxon, richly original and distinctively American. Reading them is like listening to a good talker on a tear. He tells secrets that might turn out to be your own.
Reginald Shepherd (1963-2008) was the author of five previous books of poetry: Fata Morgana; Otherhood; Wrong; Angel, Interrupted; and Some Are Drowning. His work has been widely anthologized, and has appeared in four editions of The Best American Poetry and two Pushcart Prize anthologies.