Thursday, July 16, 2015

Thomas Hardy Listens To Louis Armstrong

My first full-length poetry book, Thomas Hardy Listens To Louis Armstrong, was published on 1 July 2015 by Eyewear Publishing in London. You can order it any local bookstore near where you live (it has an ISBN and all that). It's also available directly from Eyewear, from Amazon, and soon from Small Press Distribution.

The book has three blurbs:
You’ll find sundry sorts of life that touch Andrew and you as well, in all sorts of verse: brief or long, quick or deep, free or meter, filled with experience. What’s more, you may well want to speak them to family and friends. His last poem’s last line tells us “verses did what verses mean to do”—a truth that’s worth to check back on!

John Felstiner

Andrew Shields is maestro of the sympathetic and the savvy.  He writes with unapologetic lyricism and with a narrative self-awareness that is anymore too rare in contemporary poetry.  The poems in the volume are entirely composed—and I intend that word in all the ways one might employ it: composed in the manner of a piece of music, composed in the way one might describe someone as being emotionally pulled together.  The simple stoicism of “Sundowning” will break your heart; “Blackbird” is a masterwork.  Everything about this collection sings.

Jill Alexander Essbaum

Andrew Shields is a musician himself. If you have not heard him play, read his poems. The scene in which Thomas Hardy listens to Louis Armstrong could only have been arranged by someone like him.

Durs Grünbein

Plus, it was summarized in the Poetry Book Society Bulletin as follows:
 Music swells from Andrew Shields' debut collection, from anonymous buskers "whose words have long been drowned out by the year" to Osip Mandelstam's 'Tambourine', from soaking in 'Monk's Dream' to hearing "unfinished poems in radio static". Rhythm and melody consume this poet, "spoken words [his] only instrument" yet conjuring verse "for the dancers / and the dance, unnoting, unwitting, unwrit" in a sweeping collection of symphonic depth and detail.
  "Symphonic depth and detail"! That makes me smile. :-)

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