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About this poet

Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, in 1965, Evie Shockley received her BA from Northwestern University. After studying Law at the University of Michigan, she earned her PhD in English from Duke University.

Shockley's first book, The Gorgon Goddess, was published by Carolina Wren Press in 2001. She is also the author of semiautomatic (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; the new black (Wesleyan University Press, 2011), which received the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry; 31 words * prose poems (Belladonna* Books, 2007); and a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006).

Embracing both free verse and formal structures, Shockley straddles the divide between traditional and experimental poetics. A review of her work in Library Journal noted that, "Shockley’s work incorporates elements of myth without being patently 'mythical' and is personal without being self-indulgent, sentimental without being saccharine." Her reported influences include Gwendolyn Brooks, Lucille Clifton, and Harryette Mullen.

A Cave Canem graduate fellow, Shockley received the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize. She was awarded a residency at the Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers in 2003. Two of her poems were displayed in the Biko 30/30 exhibit, a commemoration of the life and work of anti-apartheid activist Steven Biko, which toured South Africa in 2007.

Shockley was coeditor of the poetry journal jubilat from 2004 to 2007 and teaches African American Literature and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Jersey.


Bibliography

semiautomatic (Wesleyan University Press, 2017)
the new black (Wesleyan University Press, 2011)
31 words * prose poems (Belladonna* Books, 2007)
a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006)

clare's song

blonde  fair   bleached   faded   pale   pastel light
blameless   clean   innocent   guiltless   pure   clear
anatomy   build   figure   person   physique   form
complexion   countenance   hue   mien   tint   cast
bead   dab   dash   ounce   iota   spot   trace   drop
succeed   qualify   answer   do   suffice   suit   pass

authorization   permit   ticket   license   paper   visa   pass
effortless   facile   moderate   smooth   undemanding   light
abandon   dismiss   disown   quit   reject   renounce   drop
jump   leap   hurdle   negotiate   surmount   vault   clear
actors   artists   characters   company   players   roles   cast
behavior   manner   conduct   custom   practice   rite   form

arrange   assemble   concoct   create   devise   forge   form
cross   depart   flow   go   move   proceed   travel   pass
copy   duplicate   facsimile   mold   plaster   replica   cast
amusing   gay   merry   blithe   pleasing   witty   light
accumulate   gain   acquire   net   realize   secure   clear
decrease   decline   downturn   reduction   slump   drop

bleed   dribble   leak   ooze   seep   splash   trickle   drop
character   class   grade   make   species   variety   form
audible   lucid   coherent   distinct   plain   precise   clear
canyon   cut   gap   gorge   path   opening   ravine   pass
airy   buoyant   delicate   feathery   unsubstantial   light
emit   radiate   diffuse   spray   spread   scatter   cast

appoint   assign   designate   choose   name   pick   cast
abyss   chasm   descent   dip   plunge   precipice   drop
angle   approach   aspect   attitude   slant   viewpoint   light
application   sheet   chart   questionnaire   blank   form
advance   overture   proposition   approach   play   pass
absolute   convinced   decided   satisfied   sure   clear

bare   empty   free   stark   vacant   vacuous   void   clear
boot   fling   heave   hurl   launch   project   toss   cast
predicament   crisis   contingency   plight   state   pass
collapse   duck   flop   tumble   pitch   plummet   drop
format   framework   order   scheme   structure   form
beacon   bulb   dawn   flash   ray   shine   torch   light

model   pattern   fashion   form   appearance   contour   cast
luminous   radiant   clear   sunny   ablaze   aglow   light
ebb   fade   wane   depart   drop   end   die   decease   pass

—after nella larsen

From the new black. Copyright © 2011 by Evie Shockley. Used with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.

From the new black. Copyright © 2011 by Evie Shockley. Used with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Evie Shockley

Evie Shockley

Embracing both free verse and formal structures, Evie Shockley straddles the divide between traditional and experimental poetics.

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