Penumbra—Michael Shewmaker’s debut collection—explores the half-shadows of a world torn between faith and doubt. From intricate descriptions of the rooms in a dollhouse, to the stark depiction of a chapel made of bones, from pre-elegies for a ghostly father, to his compelling treatment of his obsessed, human characters (a pastor, a tattoo artist, a sleepwalker, to name only a few), these are poems that wrestle with what it means to believe in something beyond one’s own mortality. Learned and formally adept, these poems consist of equal parts praise and despair. They announce Shewmaker as an important new voice in American poetry.
About the Author
Michael Shewmaker is a Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, his poems appear in Yale Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Daily, Parnassus, Oxford American, New Criterion, Narrative, and elsewhere. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, Emily.