NEIL SHEPARD

I’m Here Because I Lost My Way: Mark Doty says, “The poems of I’m Here Because I Lost My Way construct a history of self in context – in memory, in love lost and love discovered, in friendship and in landscape, and in the strange new mirrors of travel. In these poems’ realms of loss, the self is also appearing and disappearing, vanishing even as these patient and scrupulous lyrics discover its traces.” and Alice Fulton notes, “From the bitter stuff of history, the filmy stuff of memory, Neil Shepard makes phoenix poems of resurrection and second chances seized. His work bears brilliant witness in a language free of polemics and rich with the sustenance of art. Few poets understand – or restore – so much.”


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THE NEWS

Numb and number
to the number
of deaths in an hour.

The somber weight of data –
how many struck by stray
bullets, how many

land-mines, live
wires, grenades – I
understand fleetingly. How many

dead of carbine fire
on the L.A. freeway,
or under the Golden Arches,

bloodied beside the red-
nosed clown. Lumber-
ing crosstown, what number

fall down manholes, what number
crack skulls on black ice –
where blood in Rorshach

puddles is anyone’s guess.
What number ends this
numbness? One. Who,

falling, locks my gaze,
says, number me
among those your praise.




neil.shepard@jsc.edu