Kendra Steiner Editions (Bill Shute)

June 23, 2021

new Bill Shute poetry book now available: TWO SELF-PORTRAITS (After Murillo), KSE #418

available for order (only $7.95) here: http://bit.ly/TWOSELF

This has been available for sale online for a while, and I’ve gotten some e-mails from readers who’ve already received and read their copies, so I needed to kick myself to get a release announcement up…and here it is.

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!

It’s time to put the diptych form behind me, so I’ve moved on to a very different kind of poetic form for my next project, which I will continue work on during my Summer 2021 writing vacation in Mississippi and Louisiana. I’ve been a reader of Robert Lowell’s various “Notebook” collections (I prefer the more assemblage-based NOTEBOOK and NOTEBOOK 1967-68 to the more tamed and traditionally organized versions of that raw material found in HISTORY and FOR LIZZIE AND HARRIET) for many years/decades (and I have also been studying closely the recently published expanded version of Lowell’s THE DOLPHIN, with two complete and different versions, a work in a similar from to the NOTEBOOK works) , and I’m using a variation on the organic, flexible 14-line sonnet-based form he uses there in the piece I’m presently working on, which I should not say anymore about at this point (being superstitious). I should add that this present poetic wave I have been riding ever since RIVERSIDE FUGUE (2019), and it grew out of AMONG THE NEWLY FALLEN (2018). The form and method of composition of every piece since AMONG THE NEWLY FALLEN is rooted in the previous one but goes beyond it, and new hurdles are set for me to jump during the composing and editing, leading me to (IMHO) stretch myself and extend my reach. I hope you’ll agree.

If you’d like to read some of the older pieces from 5-10-15 years ago, my German selected poems collection JUNK SCULPTURE FROM THE NEW GILDED AGE will be appearing in mid-to-late 2021 from Moloko Print in Germany, 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 (90+ 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!).

You can read about and order my recent poetry books published through KSE at the Bill Shute author page at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XRNgjl

Please note that the new book, TWO SELF-PORTRAITS (After Murillo) is for sale at only $7.95, a dollar less than the previous book, which I hope will encourage more readers to take the plunge.

Murillo: The Self-Portraits October 30, 2017 though February 4, 2018

Those interested in learning more about the two surviving Murillo self-portraits are encouraged to find a copy of MURILLO: THE SELF PORTRAITS by Xavier F. Salomon and Letizia Treves, published in 2017 by the Frick Collection.

This thin and trim (just like Mr. Ashbery in that period!) edition of SELF-PORTRAIT IN A CONVEX MIRROR is the one I used to carry around with me as a teenager (I actually spent more time overall back then with Ashbery’s THE TENNIS COURT OATH, but that would not fit in my back pocket).

As always, thank you for taking the time to read my various offerings, and I hope you find them interesting and worthwhile….and entertaining.

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