Written in the spaces between otherness and brotherhood, Otherhood combines traditional lyricism with experimentalism, passionate engagement with cold-eyed investigation, and personal details with a depersonalized distance to create a new poetic synthesis.
Shepherd continues the mining—making mine—of classical texts and textures which has been for so long his forte. . . . No poet of his generation brings more intelligence, passion, wit, and necessary madness to poetry.
True poets give gifts. Reginald Shepherd gives his readers the interest of the world. . . . Shepherd's book is a Song of Songs.
A book worth reading and re-reading.
[Shepherd] is a master of figurative speech, especially metaphors. . . .A stunningly beautiful collection.
[Shepherd's] gifts are admirable in their abundance and their brilliance.
A poet who undeniably attempts and achieves more in each new book than the last. . . . dazzles the reader . . . With four books in the past decade, [he] has established himself as one of the great poets of his generation.
We are treated to alternately scuttling and hypnotic rhythms, a dazzling range of diction, and the will to topple or invert established heirarchies of power and meaning. . . . Shepherd refuses to shy away from beauty's brutal aspect or to soften the motal edges of desire. . . . Advances his risk-taking body of work.
Through a breathtaking panoply of Grecian gods and Latinate terms, Reginald Shepherd weaves an elaborate mesh of language. The fascinating fabric of the poems in Otherhood is soundplay, and Shepherd is a vertuoso.
Poet and poems push to reinvent themselves, stanza by stanza, pursuing dynamism at the risk of imbalance or even dissolution. The risk is worth it. With Otherhood, Shepherd's gifts appear, incredibly, redoubled.
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.