Orpheus in the Bronx: Essays on Identity, Politics, and the Freedom of Poetry

Reginald Shepherd
Published in 2007
by University of Michigan Press

In this collection of essays, the late poet and editor Reginald Shepherd explores the transformative power of poetry in a selection of autobiographical essays and those that focus on the work of other writers, including Alvin Feinman, Jorie Graham, Samuel R. Delany, and Linda Gregg. Shepherd invites readers into his childhood and formation as a writer in a way that provides context for his critical and analytical writings. His achievements, both artistically and intellectually, are sure to impact any devotee of literature. “The essays gathered here range in topic from the autobiographical to the exegetical to the theoretical, in style from the narrative to the lyrical to the analytical,” writes Shepherd in the introduction. “What unifies them is a resolute defense of poetry’s autonomy, and a celebration of the liberatory and utopian possibilities such autonomy offers.”