A Spell of Songs
Peter Jay Shippy's long anticipated fourth collection is a wickedly playful journey into America's heart of darkness.
Peter Jay Shippy's A Spell of Songs evokes an enchanted world, one we eventually come to recognize as our own, where the cursed and the charmed unreel before the reader like characters in an unspooling film of the American fairy tale. About his poetry, Bin Ramke writes, "Shippy's strange little machines of words are all kinetic, disturbing, and weirdly graceful, unlike anything else available in American poetry."A spell of songs continues his celebration of the adventitious in long, loping couplets, an amplitude, an amplifier unrestrained. His is a swirling, spellbinding, and impishly unnerving song.
Best American Poetry 2013
How To Build The Ghost In Your Attic
Peter Shippys verse novel begins as all novels should, with a cow crashing through the ceiling of its first-person narrator. Other delights ensue. Pound said Mauberley was his condensed version of a Henry James novel: How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic operates under similar depth pressures and aspirations. The triadic stepline pioneered for U.S. poets by W.C. Williams is here employed with vigor and narrative impetus; the rhythms are propulsive and captivating. This is above all an enjoyable book, fantastic and funny throughout. It can be read straight through, and I mean that as high praise. Shippys polyglot reality where history is hence held me bound for 80 pages. --Bill Knott
"Shippy's aesthetic boundaries are blurred in the most delightful and surprising ways and have opened new ground for lyric expression. His hybrid has infused contemporary poetry with dynamism." --Denise Duhamel
"In dexterous lingo, the argot fraught with gumption and gusto, Shippy's new poem dazzles. Fathers, mothers, sphinxes, and seers populate this wild hyper-Classical world, one made wilder by the poet's searing wit. How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic astonishes, the ideas everywhere: read it and leap!" --Alan Michael Parker
"Ah, writ happens." Like the con men who rely on thieves' Latin to ply their trade, the poems in Peter Jay Shippy's award-winning collection don't play well with other poems. They are difficult. They rave. They are unsettling and blunt. They crash cars and ride tsunamis and hitch rides on tugs. They also provide a contemporary, ironic, and tender view of America, all the while layering wordplay, cleverness, and sentiment. Shippy's narrators "dance like night writing"; they "witness the reverse / side of actions" and "take a walk on the wing"; they feel "nothing but articulation" and attach "our planet to the highest branch"" they "have a good feeling about most birds, and trust / that they are a friend to man." In other words, their condition is Beckettian, but they speak like one of Sam Shepherd's dusty road angels.
Best American Poetry 2012
Including Shippy's "Our Posthumous Lives."
"My head keeps snapping back like I'm Jake LaMotta in the 8th round with Sugar Ray," says August Kleinzahler of reading Peter Jay Shippy's poems. Alphaville, an abcedarian suite, is Shippy's latest release. Edgy alphabetic poetry from the author of Thieves' Latin. Read it now.