About the Poems
by Peter Shippy
“Orpheus Breaks-up the Band”
Inspired by Michael Schmidt’s The First Poets (Knopf) and Jean Cocteau’s Orphée and Le Testament d'Orphée.
Judge: Who are you?
Orpheus: I’m a poet.
Judge: What does that mean?
Orpheus: To write and not be a writer.
in ancient Egypt, the soul of a dead person, said to be able to reside in a statue of a person after death
to utter a warning in Bryan Ferry’s voice
“The Most Up to Date Explanation of the Universe’s Absence of Meaning”
An orphan from a failed book (#433) of sonnet-like poems.
“Sadness, After Li-Shang”
Before leaving Emerson my dear pal and ex-officemate David Daniel stapled a rather disturbing (and yet…alluring) photo of an old, shirtless Ezra Pound to our wall. Now, his bellybutton follows me. I’m afraid to remove Ezra—he has the pec(cavi)s of a 30-year old…. This Pound reminds me of the Russian / Dominican / Irish men I see walking around Jamaica Pond in the summer, seniors with their shirts rolled-up, letting their bellies fly! Those are men on autopilot.
“When I Whistled to Robert Mitchum, Wintry Beneath”
My new manuscript includes many short plays or variations on ventriloquy. Inspired by: Kenneth Koch, Daniil Kharms, and Joyce Mansour.
Ben Harper: What religion do you profess, preacher?
Rev. Harry Powell: The religion the Almighty and me worked out betwixt us.
from The Night of the Hunter (1955)