All the ways in which Reginald Shepherd is 'wrong' (not white, not straight, not apologetic, not believing in any easy way of making sense) fire these compelling poems—which brilliantly filter their urban, late twentieth century experience through the gorgeous diction of Marlowe and Hart Crane. This book is absolutely fresh, energized by the ways Shepherd refuses the 'right' in favor of a dark and lustrous matrix of desire and race, the longing for a sense of actuality, the beautiful and resistant surfaces of language and skin. Wrong is a fearless and radiant book.
Mark Doty

The poems of Reginald Shepherd’s third book move among, mix, and manufacture stories, seeking to redefine the meaning of mythology. From the ruined representatives of Greek divinity (broken statues and fragmented stories), and the dazzling extravagances of predecessors like Hart Crane and Wallace Stevens, to the fleeting promises of popular music and the laconic demigods of the contemporary gay subculture, they sketch maps of a world in which desire may find a restless home. But desire leads the maps astray and maps mislead desire. The poems poems both enact language’s powers to create a world and enforce the world’s insistence (material, social, sexual, racial, historical) that mind (and body) surrender to circumstance. The struggle between these two halves that will never make a whole produces new myths of occasion, “packing the rifts/with sleeplessness, filling the gaps with lack.” In that space between promise and deprivation, Wrong builds its song.

112 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5 in.

December, 1999

isbn : 9780822957119

about the author

Reginald Shepherd

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.

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Reginald Shepherd