The five poem-essays of Chris Nealon's The Shore give space and voice to the complexity of contemporary life, admitting bafflement and dismay but also creating openings for indiscreet hope. Queer and anti-capitalist, they urge us not to be ruled by our fears, while always ethically navigating the forces--race, class, age, gender, and others--that put us each in different places of power. Nimbly exploring connections among beauty, friendship, and politics, The Shore gives our era of crisis a language at once vernacular and philosophical, in a form that's both teeming and fluid.
Chris Nealon is Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of two books of literary criticism, Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall (Duke, 2001) and The Matter of Capital: Poetry and Crisis in The American Century (Harvard, 2011), as well as three earlier books of poetry: The Joyous Age (Black Square Editions, 2004), Plummet (Edge Books, 2009), and Heteronomy (Edge, 2014). He lives in Washington, DC.
Political poetry might bring to mind the activist tone of Denise Levertov or the cadenced rhetoric of Gil Scott-Heron. Nealon's version is a more playful and self-aware reverie, finding political unease in the passing thought. --Johns Hopkins Magazine
Reading Nealon, one feels as though Homer has been reincarnated in sound bites, or as though Coleridge has succeeded in reviving the song of the damsel with her dulcimer, and we realize it is both as delightful and as laughable as we could have imagined. Nealon is both god and jester, beckoning us close even as he warns us to beware. --The Volta