by Jennifer Minniti- Shippey
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About After the Tour
In love with the exasperating, phenomenal world, the poems comprising Jennifer Minniti- Shippey’s debut collection chart a journey through the contemporary American landscape, with helicopters, wild horses, strip clubs, and river otters—a landscape reshaped by conflict and confusion, a journey haunted by the looming shadow of an endless war.
After the Tour offers the voices of those left behind: beloved, parents, nieces. Here are elegies for “your ass in that chair / there on the patio in the dark of a Wednesday,” love letters to “the boy reading Harry Potter on his bunk in Afghanistan,” songs for “the loneliness we will one day know,” woven together through a sensory and sensual engagement with the body and the world.
The writing is unflinching, yet exuberant, exultant, as well. We must choose to praise, argue the speakers of these poems, allow the world to make fools of us, write to the beloved from every direction, even if “memory replaces nothing, not /brown eyes or blue.
Precise, musical, and haunting, After the Tour offers a much-needed lyric view of our American moment.
“After the Tour is an astonishing collection that gives us both the clear view of terrifying world we have made and the beautiful, lyrical song of love that guides us out of this misfortune. Combining the spell of the story and the memorable, image-laden, musical, lyric voice, this book gives us an America that is both private and public, gives us the poet who is whispering and singing at the top of her lungs, gives us tenderness and fury, politics and intimacy, rhapsody and elegy, all in one collection which in the end becomes one long poem about the life we have made, about the song we can hope to make of it, about the hurt that here becomes that very song. Bravo.”
–Ilya Kaminsky, author of The Deaf Republic
“After the Tour, takes the reader on a journey through grief and its reckoning. It asks how to step back into the pool of life with its attendant loss and bereavement, and how not to with its patchwork of joy? The poet tethers these delicate weights to the yoke she balances throughout After the Tour. There is also humor and the lushness of lust. In the search for an adoptable dog there is the acknowledgment that love is “a leash. ” This collection reminds us that opening oneself up to relationships can also be an opening for searing pain, but perhaps most importantly, to the giving and receiving of love which in the end is fucking worth it all.”
–Maria Garcia Teutsch, author of Pussy: poems about things you think are pornographic
of steel-toed boots and fixed-gear bicycles,
O country of subwoofers and subterranean shelters,
of men on green fields in armor, of men on sand
in skin, of skin on skin, and nail polish named
better than our children—
let me spell out
short, declarative sentences: the marigolds
still bloom in the planter boxes. Mourning doves
bead phone lines like dew. Mourning girls
braid yellow ribbons into their black hair.
I am trivializing music with grief.
Let me make this accessible:
my brother died in the tar sands. My brother
died in a coal pit in West Virginia. My
brother died in Afghanistan.
Small caliber breath breaches
beneath bullets, beneath—I
don’t have a brother, but I have yellow ribbons
for every lost man. O ripe avocados.
O beards on the chins of beautiful men.
About the Author
Jennifer Minniti- Shippey is the Managing Editor of Poetry International literary journal, Director of Poetic Youth programs, and a professor at San Diego State University. She is the author of Done Dating DJs, winner of the 2009 Fool for Poetry Chapbook Competition, presented by the Munster Literature Centre, and Earth’s Horses & Boys, from Finishing Line Press. Her writing has appeared in Salamander, Spillway, Cider Press Review, Tar River Poetry, and others.