Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

March 8, 2021

finishing draft of new poetry book TWO SELF-PORTRAITS (After Murillo)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:13 am
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from Murillo’s Prodigal Son sequence

Thankfully, I have a few days this coming week off-work where I can spend full-time finishing the draft of my newest long-form poem TWO SELF-PORTRAITS (AFTER MURILLO), which is in a similar diptych format to my previous book COMPLEMENTARY ANGLES…this time a 42-page work, in two 21-page sections.

Only two self-portraits survive (see pic below) from the great Spanish Baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682), although he may well have painted others that do not survive. One of these dates from his 30s, the other from his 50s. I have used these two self-portraits, done in those two distinct periods in his life, as the inspiration for two fictionalized “self-portraits” set in the life of my present-day viewpoint character, in his 30s and then in his 50s, in the two halves of the diptych. As a teenager back in the 1970s, I read many times John Ashbery’s long poem SELF-PORTRAIT IN A CONVEX MIRROR, inspired by the painting of the same name from the Italian painter Parmigianino (1503-1540), and in a way I feel that I’m using the Murillo works as a prompt/catalyst for poetic creation in a manner similar to what Ashbery did, though of course completely different in result with mine being in the idiosyncratic Bill Shute style, and Ashbery being both a genius and a poet with a very different idiosyncratic style. Why not aim high!

I am hoping to have this new work finished and then edited by the end of May. Then I will move on to a very different kind of poetic form for my next project, which I will work on during my Summer 2021 writing vacation in Mississippi and Louisiana.

My German selected poems collection JUNK SCULPTURE FROM THE NEW GILDED AGE will, I hope, be appearing in mid-to-late 2021 from Moloko Print, and as that comes closer, I’ll let you know the details. This book was commissioned in 2018 and I sent the manuscript to the publisher in 2018, so at this point it seems like EARLY SELECTED POEMS, but it is a handy sampling of a number of pieces (100+pages) from 2005-2017 which have only appeared in small-distribution chapbooks which are long out-of-print, none of which have ever appeared in a book-length collection, and it includes such popular pieces as LAMENT FOR THE LIVING, my poem about the final days of Chet Baker, which opens the new collection. I still get e-mails from people wanting copies of that, which was originally published in March 2010 (11 years ago!).

Until then, if you have not yet read COMPLEMENTARY ANGLES, you can get it for only $8.95 from any international Amazon platform.

Here is a shortlink for ordering for North American readers (outside of North America, just enter BILL SHUTE, COMPLEMENTARY ANGLES into the Amazon search box and you can get it as a local purchase with local postage): http://amzn.to/3rH24iB

Although some of my poetry books for other presses are sold out and no longer in-print (such as TWELVE GATES TO THE CITY, POINT LOMA PURPLE, CULTURE OF COMPLIANCE, and APPROACHING THE APPARENT), the KSE books from 2016 on are still available and can be ordered along with COMPLEMENTARY ANGLES. Those include RIVERSIDE FUGUE; TOMORROW WON’T BRING THE RAIN; NO BRICKS, NO TEMPLES; AMONG THE NEWLY FALLEN; SCULPTURE GARDEN IN THE SNOW; SATORI IN NATCHEZ; BRIDGE ON THE BAYOU; and DOWN AND OUT IN GULFPORT AND BILOXI.

As always, I hope you find these works interesting and worthwhile….

BILL SHUTE (San Antonio, Texas)

Murillo: The Self-Portraits

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