Some Are Drowning

Reginald Shepherd, Author University of Pittsburgh Press $25 (76p) ISBN 978-0-8229-3867-5
Like the Greek myth of Tantalus, whose punishment in Hades was to suffer from thirst while standing in the midst of a lake, Shepherd's first book is, well, tantalizing: his edgy, refined voice seems entirely at ease while swinging between versions of Greek myths, bitter love poems, and explorations into what it means to filter white Western history through a black heritage. This last subject informs Shepherd's best writing. In ``Slaves'' a white sailor on a sinking slave ship is mockingly eulogized, with chilling effect. Shepherd fathoms such themes without letting potential bathos interrupt the poetry-or, as a narrator puts it, ``When shall I be like the swallow, singing the rape of my voice, but singing past the rape, something my own to sing?'' This seemingly offhand question resounds through many poems, not always in Shepherd's favor. For example, he often couches poems in Greek mythology, either thematically or metaphorically, when they might be more interesting left to their own devices. At other times, lines like ``Desires wide as burning rain forests in Brazil'' counter an otherwise clean use of simile. But these are minor grievances in a promising first collection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 76 pages - 978-0-8229-5547-4
Open Ebook - 88 pages - 978-1-322-02540-7
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.