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A Martian Muse Further Readings on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry by

A Martian Muse Further Readings on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry


A Martian Muse Further Readings on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry by

This is National Book Critics Circle Award finalist's posthumous volume of critical essays. Those who have read Orpheus in the Bronx , Reginald Shepherd's previous collection of essays about the act of creating poetry, and those who take on the task, can immediately understand why it was a national finalist for a prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award. Shepherd was candid and disarming, practical and funny, able to mix thoughts about the Transformers with the realities of growing up poor. This is Reginald Shepherd's final opportunity to speak his mind about the craft he loved, the art of using words to express the soul and the wit of every person's experience. Edited by Shepherd's longtime partner and intellectual confidant, Robert Philen, A Martian Muse stands as a final monument to a master in the craft, but is also a readable, important work in its own right.


Reginald Shepherd died September 10, 2008, after a hard struggle with cancer. While he had completed the essays presented here and had selected them from his available essays to form a collection, he didn't have time to organize the presentation of the essays within the collection. The task of editing this collection has been a daunting challenge as I struggle to live up to the level of intellectual engagement, clarity, and coherence that Reginald always expected. While daunting, it has also been a labor of love and a compulsion for me, based on the many years I spent with him as a partner, friend, lover, intellectual companion, and sharer of common passions. - Robert Philen, from the Introduction

About the Author

Reginald Shepherd's fourth collection, Otherhood, was published in 2003. His first book, Some Are Drowning, won the 1993 AWP Award in Poetry. He has received grants from the NEA and the Illinois Arts Council, among other awards and honors. He currently lives with his partner in Pensacola, Florida.

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Book Info

Publication date

15th April 2010


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The University of Michigan Press


200 pages


Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers



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