Aaron Shurin received his M.A. in Poetics from New College of California, where he studied under poet Robert Duncan. He is a recipient of California Arts Council Literary Fellowships in poetry (1989, 2002), and a NEA fellowship in creative nonfiction (1995). Shurin is the former Associate Director of the Poetry Center & American Poetry Archives at San Francisco State University and the author of numerous books of poetry, including: Into Distances (1993), The Paradise of Forms: Selected Poems (1999), A Door (2000), Involuntary Lyrics (2005), Citizen (2012); and volumes of prose, including Unbound: A Book of AIDS (1997) and King of Shadows (2008), a collection of essays.
Aaron Shurin has taught extensively in the fields of American poetry and poetics, contemporary and classical prosody, improvisational techniques in composition, and the personal essay. According to his biography at the University of San Francisco where he teaches, his own work is framed by the innovative traditions in lyric poetry as they extend the central purpose of the Romantic Imagination: to attend the world in its particularities, body and soul.
Shurin's poetics might be described as a poetics of the voice in the tradition of Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and of those who followed. Writes Shurin:
Poetry remains for me an act of investigation, by which the imagination makes itself visible in a real world - and through which the inhabitants of that realer world become dimensional.
An American inheritance might include Whitman's polyglot impetus toward people speaking in their own voices, bringing poetic diction down from England's on high and into the streets (but that's an impulse already at least as old as Dante.)... An American inheritance might include Dickinson's fierce commitment to individual volition and despair, to her reworking of traditional forms to accept interruption and levels of psychic intuition.Following upon Whitman and Dickinson, Shurin acknowledges a multiplicity of influences on his sense of a poetics:
I certainly take the informing spirits of these two creative workers as my Americanist guide, but they stand alongside myriad figures from simultaneous myriad traditions poetic and other: Rimbaud, Chaucer, Flaubert, Lorca, Stein, O'Hara, Proust, Rembrandt, Colette, Homer, Cocteau, Pasolini, Duncan, Shakespeare, H.D., Monet, Kurosawa, Bette Davis, Williams, di Prima, Genet, Callas, Notley, Ionesco, Scalapino, Cabbalé, Chopin, or Robert Glück. In the end, this furious plurality may be the most American thing about me.
Aaron Shurin, 1988, by Robert Giard (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl_getrec.asp?fld=img&id=1124053)
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digital
Citizen by Aaron Shurin
Publisher City Lights Publishers (December 27, 2011)
Amazon Kindle: Citizen
"Aaron Shurin writes piercingly lovely poetry that‘s multidimensional and insists on being read aloud, though its eloquence is equally powerful on the page without sound, with that enclosed, attentive ear that can turn poetry into meditation...Shurin’s name has been linked with masters like Jorie Graham and Michael Palmer. But his songs have a grace that’s his alone."—The Rumpus
Widely acclaimed for his lyrical language and innovative verse, Aaron Shurin brings the prose poem into new richness and complexity in Citizen. Through shape-shifting sentences and sensuous imagery he explores the nuances of civic and domestic life, the twists and turns of desire, and the mysterious shimmer of objects. Traveling across the borders of cities and the boundaries of form, he crafts a dazzling vision of daily life as a citizen of the imagination.
More Particular Voices at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Particular Voices
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