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Play My Music Anyhow

I find myself caught up in Shelby Stephenson's latest and strongest collection--Play My Music Anyhow--poems that speak in a voice weathered but unwavering, with new lessons to impart and a boundless commitment to the music of memory.
--Stephen E. Smith

Shelby Stephenson has done it again. He's taken a tomato and made it into a universe, into a beautiful planet, and into a seed.
--Clyde Edgerton

2013. Finishing Line Press. $14 plus $2 shipping & handling. Available from the publisher at www.finishinglinepress.com


Playing Dead

I think Playing Dead is a little more grittier than the possum of Possum. I'm trying to give back to the possum something we took away by hunting it and eating it when I was growing up here in Johnston County.
--Shelby Stephenson

Shelby Stephenson must have been a possum in another life. The poems of Playing Dead are adventurous, cranky, uxorious and wise.
--Janet Lembke

2011. Finishing Line Press. $12 plus $2 shipping & handling. Available from the publisher at www.finishinglinepress.com


Family Matters: 
Homage to July, the Slave Girl

“An intense and heart-breaking poetic narrative which, in its exploration of historical and personal materials, holds affinities to the work of Susan Howe and to James Agee’s classic Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Family Matters is a strenuous questioning — and exposure — of the fictions of ownership, whether of persons or places, graves or farms.”
--Allen Grossman, final judge, 2008 Bellday Prize competition

2008. Bellday Books. $14 plus $2 shipping & handling. Available from the publisher at www.belldaybooks.com


"Shelby Stephenson's Possum is a mysterious, mystical, and courageous creature, as spooky and suggestive as a half-seen haint. At every turn, Possum the animal and Possum the chapbook invite allegorical, symbolic, and emblematic readings that the critter and the poems then evade. Reckless and thoughtful, suffering and victorious, the man and the marsupial sing in close harmony down in the murky swamps under a midnight sky. When the moon is at the zenith, you can hear them: 'Raccoon up a simmon tree, possum on the ground...' Is it harmony with a single voice?"
--Fred Chappell. 2004. Bright Hill Press.

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Shelby Stephenson / 985 Sanders Road / Benson NC 27504 / shelbystephenson@mindspring.com
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