Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

July 4, 2019

now available, ‘RIVERSIDE FUGUE,’ new book-length poem from BILL SHUTE

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 8:46 am



66 page perfect-bound paperback, composed 11/2018 –  6/2019 in Texas and Louisiana

available at all Amazon outlets in North America and Europe as a local purchase

US customers may order at

riverside cover

Many reading this will remember that in 2017 I made the decision to change the nature of my poetry and move into longer, book-length works instead of shorter pieces in the 5-8 page range. My first two poetry books, TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY (Word Mechanics 2006) and POINT LOMA PURPLE (Word Mechanics 2007), had both been book-length creations, and the structural and organizational and imaginative challenges of the long-form work have always appealed to me—-I rarely go a month or more without returning to such works as Melville’s CLAREL, Crane’s THE BRIDGE, or Wordsworth’s THE PRELUDE, and I am a great admirer of modern epic works such as Diane Wakoski’s four-volume THE ARCHEOLOGY OF MOVIES AND BOOKS (I, Medea The Sorceress; II, Jason The Sailor; III, The Emerald City of Las Vegas ; and IV, Argonaut Rose), which is sure to become one of the essential works for an understanding of the late 20th and early 21st Century in future times, and Anne Waldman’s IOVIS TRILOGY. Of course, I should not mention myself in such august company, but I’ve always been of the opinion that one must aim at the stars to get over the backyard fence!

My 2018 book AMONG THE NEWLY FALLEN was a long-form work using some of the techniques of motif-based film-music composition and the murals of Thomas Hart Benton to create a piece on a much larger canvas (46 pages), and with this new 2019 book, RIVERSIDE FUGUE, I was inspired by the KSE album “Staring At A Statue Of Paint” by MORE EAZE (aka Marcus Rubio). I had it on repeat as I was working on AMONG THE NEWLY FALLEN in Oklahoma in the summer of 2018, and I thought that for my next work, I would have to study the patterns of repetition and variation in those pieces by More Eaze, and use that as a foundation, along with the classical fugue structure, I could adapt to my needs as a poet. I began work on RIVERSIDE FUGUE in November of 2018 and continued on it until mid-June of 2019, finishing it during my writing vacation in East Texas (on a cattle and horse ranch near the Texas/Louisiana border) and Louisiana the first two weeks of June. This time I edited and formatted it as I went along, rather than completing the work in longhand first and then typing it into the computer, so it was sent off to the publisher when I arrived back home, the proofs have been checked by a few people (not just me), and the book is now available for YOU to read. Only $9.95, and whatever country you are in, the cost should be similar as you can order it as a local product from your local Amazon outlet. The days of having to spend $15 postage on a $7 KSE chapbook are long gone—-this new method is working out very well, and it’s allowing me to create beautifully printed perfect-bound paperbacks that achieve 100% of what I conceive in my mind’s eye.

My prose has appeared far and wide over the years, still coming out regularly today, and as long as no publisher/editor changes my grammar and punctuation or alters my paragraphing or substitutes other words, it matters not the format in which the work appears. The words will remain the same.

Poetry does not work that way, and it especially does not work that way in the world of open-field poetry, where the page is a canvas, and where every element of spacing and placement and positioning-of-stanzas and layout is an integral part of the work. To use an early-jazz analogy, prose or standard poetry anchored to the left margin would be like a piano roll, while open-field poetry would be like a live performance in your living room by Meade Lux Lewis. At least that is the intention, and that is what’s possible in the hands of someone who attempts to use the infinite possibilities of the medium.

As usual for me, this work is a collage of contemporary life and consciousness, and like present-day society, it’s both absurd and painful—-you may laugh and cry on the same page. I am always happy when doing a reading at a venue that is not thought of as “literary” (say, a bar) and the people in the audience laugh in the right places, and their jaws drop and they are silent in the right places. That tells me that I have succeeded in what I’m doing.

I also made the decision with RIVERSIDE FUGUE to have no specific viewpoint character in first-person singular as I sometimes do, some worker reflecting on their own experience and their part in the puzzle. Of course, there is always the implied controlling intelligence that is assembling the poem, but that’s another issue. This time the viewpoint perspective is first-person plural, WE and US. As we all are under-fire so much on a daily basis and as we need to rise above the ways in which we are being separated from each other, and set against each other by those for whom such anger and confusion and separation is in their best interest, it seemed as though the WE of unity-under-fire was needed today.

The poem runs 60 pages, in three sections. I hope you’ll find this poetic version of a fugue-like structure to be fresh and integral to the overall effect.  RIVERSIDE FUGUE — it will make you laugh–it will make you cry.

I think you’ll also like the handy 5 x 8 size of the book. I composed specifically for that size and format, and I intend to use this size/format again for my next book. It’s small enough to take with you and carry around, but the words on the page are bold, clear, and precise, and the page-canvas is focused yet capable of infinite variation.

USA customers can use the ordering link above. Overseas customers can just search for the book at your local Amazon affiliate–it will be the equivalent of US $9.95 in your local currency.

There is also a Bill Shute author page you can access here:

Bill Shute author page

American readers can direct order any of my 6 most recent KSE paperback poetry books. Overseas readers can search for any of the 6 locally to save money. This page also provides a feed of KSE blog posts. My poetry books from imprints other than KSE are not available here, alas. POINT LOMA PURPLE and TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY have been out of print for years, and the British book APPROACHING THE APPARENT sold out a few months after its release. My joint book with Michael Casey, CULTURE OF COMPLIANCE, is still available from Ruminant Press in Massachusetts, though only a handful are left. You can order that here:

I’ve already started on the next book-length poetry project, which I hope to have completed in the Summer of 2020.

There will supposedly be a “selected works” collection spanning 15 years coming out in Germany in 2020—-I’ll let you know about that as it happens. I submitted the requested manuscript for that last fall.

Hope you find RIVERSIDE FUGUE interesting and worthwhile. There’s certainly nothing else similar to it out there, and I can safely say that it achieves exactly what I set out to achieve. Whether or not you find what it achieves to be of any value is, of course, another matter.

Thanks again for your support over the years. Some of you out there have been readers of mine since the 1980’s. As they say whenever you fly Southwest Airlines, “we know you have a lot of choices out there in the marketplace….”

riverside cover

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