GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 by Gregg Shapiro

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“These terrific poems—a decade of them, one for each year from 1970 to 1980— are time capsules chock-full of the amazing but ordinary stuff of Midwestern suburban childhood. But these are not nostalgic poems. Ultimately, they are poems beautifully haunted by harm and hope, longing and desire. In a chapbook that is at once funny and affecting, Gregg Shapiro proves himself the Cavafy of Chicago.” Richard McCann

“Gregg Shapiro’s poetry of coming of age in the “me decade” becomes the poetry of “us,” as his keen, compassionate eye recasts and recollects the 1970’s as a time of optimism and possibility. Nostalgic and rebellious, wise and true, Shapiro uses bittersweet humor to describe the particulars of his Chicago, then the North End of Boston. His real gift, of course, is poetry that transcends time and place with yearning and universal insight. GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 is as roomy and accommodating as a station wagon, making room for us all.” Denise Duhamel

“Shapiro tackles the seventies with a poetic earnestness, self-effacing charm & a narrative that is full of edge. Ignited by the same fire of the Stonewall revolt, the years are documented with an unflinching truth and fierceness. We cheer the protagonist’s metamorphosis from the sugary middle-schooler blasting Woodstock to the young man blinded by the thrill of the fluorescent-pink atomic eighties. GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 is an inspiring and celebratory collection of survival during America’s cultural renaissance.” Regie Cabico

“The appealing poems of Gregg Shapiro’s GREGG SHAPIRO: 77 leave me nostalgic, teenagery, vastly human, happily queer, and wanting more poems—right up to Gregg Shapiro: ∞. I love these riffs and their witty glimpses of one specific life in a very disturbing decade I myself struggle to recall (I was so busy trying to avoid it), but, ah, the music! And, ah, the brave and clear-eyed insights of an adolescent alive with it all. Sneaking into the girls’ bathroom/on the eighth floor of 600 South/to study, transcribe and transform/the graffiti on the stall walls into/poetry, Shapiro gives us an astute and touching gift with no strings attached except guitar, nothing demanded of us, nothing expected. This little book is simply ours to keep or dismantle: scrapbook, amulet, bomb.” Maureen Seaton

“Gregg Shapiro’s wonderful collection of poems takes us on a young gay man’s journey through the1970s that is beautifully written and evocative of a strangely innocent time of untarnished glitter.” Bob Smith

“Peppered with cultural and historical touchstones: vinyl LPs, family station wagons, Watergate, and latch-hook rugs, Gregg Shapiro’s new collection evokes a working-class, Midwestern America of the 1970s, with an eye and ear that wizens through the pages, moving from wonder and awe to self-awareness. Between the lines, a narrative emerges of a father defeated by life (with echoes of Willy Loman), and a son coming into himself as a young gay man on the cusp of a new decade.” Kathie Bergquist

“In this collection of poems, Gregg Shapiro catalogs a poet’s stepping stones across a fast-flowing life-stream, as he navigates the disco-fueled 1970s, in a journey from adolescence to adulthood. He tiptoes, and at other times leaps with gay abandon, from stone to stone, across a stream where the waters are sometimes high and menacing, other times a gentle babbling brook. Along the way, he loses his religion and finds life, loses his innocence and finds love. And then he flies away to create his own existence as all good fairies
must do.” St. Sukie de la Croix

“For anyone who rode around in a two door Ford LTD with a vinyl landau roof - who loved Necco Wafers - who got excited about the Bicentennial only to learn it wasn’t ALL that - who tried to stick with God but eventually gave up trying - who wrote on bathroom walls - who fooled around with boys - who finally left home - who survived the 1970s - this book is for YOU.” Susan Werner

“Gregg Shapiro’s book is a gift revealed in words. A collection of poems about coming of age in the ‘70s, it movingly captures the youthful feeling that the world is coming
into being just for you.” Craig Seymour

“A lot of rockers think they’re poets, and a few poets think they really can rock. It isn’t often that the spirit of the music and the gift of the muse combine, but they certainly do as Gregg Shapiro “opens the box marked 1971” and takes us on a hard-rocking rollercoaster ride through his formative years as both a rock fan and a poet.” Jim DeRogatis



Gregg Shapiro is the author of the poetry collection Protection (Gival Press, 2008). Shapiro is also an entertainment journalist whose interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional LGBT and mainstream publications and websites. He lives in Chicago with his husband Rick Karlin and their dogs Dusty and k.d. This is his first chapbook of poems.

Conrad by Michael Gushue

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"Conrad is a thorough delight. I laughed aloud no fewer than three times and tilted my head with dog-like pity many other times. Finally a poetry book that understands the romance and confusion of despair! If your spirit animal is extinct, you are Conradial, and this book is your bible. This book will charm you with its inept protagonist and marvelous vernacular -- a combination of profane and profound language, freshly squeezed." Barbara DeCesare

"Michael Gushue's Conrad channels Weldon Kees' Robinson into the 21st century where "surprise!—being dead is the new being alive!" Conrad is Conradial, but longs to be Carmenized as he "googles the night away." These poems deftly weave the tale of a man who fears that he lacks the inner resources to respond and connect to the world and people around him. A collection that is both funny and heartbreaking as the poems operate as both myth and truth." Reb Livingston

"Meet Conrad, an everyman who reaches for the sublime, only to come up with boiled celery instead. Conrad, who hopes his spirit animal turns out to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Conrad, who journeys to the Center of the Earth only to be told, "Sorry, no room." With kaleidoscopic vision and dry wit, poet Michael Gushue breaks Conrad's life down into 25 pieces, running the gamut from "His Guru" to "His Mosh Pit" to "His Answering Machine." These poems are sneaky in their simplicity and unforgettable in their poignance. Ultimately, Gushue shows us why the wise man--faced with life's banquet of banal indignities--chooses to stay hungry." Sandra Beasley, author of I Was the Jukebox



Michael Gushue co-curates the Capitol Hill Reading Series, is co-founder of Vrzhu Press and founder of Beothuk Books. Gushue is an Associate Grand Nabob with Poetry Mutual. His work has appeared online and in print, most recently in the anthology Full Moon On K Street from Plan B Press. His chapbook, Gathering Down Women, is available from Pudding House Press. He lives in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, DC.