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2 Burnside Small Press- Poetry

Heavy Petting


Heavy Petting Cover




from the Foreword by Bob Hicok

I made Greg Sherl write poems by telling him he was writing poems.

I think that's how it happened.

I think he was wearing pajamas when I think what happened happened.

Because they're comfortable, I assume.

Because he was an MFA student at the time and they do things like wear pajamas to class.

I wondered if the pajamas were a stage of MFA evolution in the direction of dreaming, which they were not, though Greg's poems are dreamy.

Dreamy about love.

Dreamy about OCD.

OCD about love.

Lovely about OCD...

Let's play random sample: I'm hair and you're a Bon Jovi cover band.

Again: I go to Tampa and I want to punch myself in the face for going to Tampa.

Sorry, Tampa.

Once more: You look anorexic from the neck up, like someone used an ice cream scooper to steal your cheeks.

I told Greg Sherl in his pajamas that his poems were poems because there's a lovely dreamy OCD strangeness to his poems.

Which I would like all on its own, if you stuck this lovely dreamy OCD strangeness on an island and told it to be itself, I would love it for being itself and ask nothing more of it and wish it well on its island with palm trees, of course.

But why I told him these were poems in my hand, more than the lovely dreamy OCD strangeness, is that the lovely dreamy OCD strangeness drives quick and straight toward emotion in a way that is simultaneously direct and off-kilter...

So you're a poet, Greg Sherl.

Do you still wear pajamas at times that are not technically pajama times?

Do you ever feel a bird in your left eye trying to fly to your right?

Do your poems help it get there?

If I had to reduce my foreword to four words, these would do: I love these poems.

To three: these poems love.

To two: love poems.

To one: blastoff.

Product Details

Sherl, Gregory
YesYes Books
General Poetry
Publication Date:
7.5" x 9"

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Humanities
Fiction and Poetry » Small Press » Poetry

Heavy Petting Used Trade Paper
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 128 pages YesYes Books - English 9781936919000 Reviews:
"Review" by , YesYes Books, 2011. Let’s just put this out there: while reading this book, you will want to put it down and go nuzzle something that can nuzzle back. You will probably get a little hot and bothered. You’ll want to brush your teeth and then dip a finger in frosting. You will most certainly want to be kind...

Heavy Petting is a collection that is at once luxurious and exuberant in its voice and wholly generous and empathetic in its heart. We can sling-shot from the aching image: “I have cried so many days there is a river under my bed. The monster has grown/ gills, webs between its toes,” to: “When we kiss, the audience sighs. Some asshole coughs” as well as literal drawings of “a firefly eating a bear” and “An anorexic banana.” It’s like we have been vaulted into a world that is both alien and yet unmistakingly familiar. I promise you: you won’t want to leave. And, you’ll most likely want to bring somebody along with you.

You have been warned.

from Read This Awesome Book
Review by Anne Ryan Barngrover

"Review" by , "If you wake up tomorrow early and Frank O’Hara is a Sony Walkman, Xanax is the new Surgeon General, and someone you’re not sure you recognize as your beloved is writing his/her name on the inside of your lip, don’t be alarmed, you’re reading Heavy Petting by Gregory Sherl."

-Matt Hart, editor Forklift, Ohio

"Review" by , The problem with post-confessionalism is that its most uninspired iterations have been sprinkled across America for the past quarter-century; that is, the problem with post-confessionalism isn't post-confessionalism, it's post-confessionalists. No longer: Gregory Sherl is the post-confessionalist we've been looking for, which is to say that there's nothing smarmy, self-important, or false about these poems or this poet. Sherl is that rare author who can speak earnestly about the vagaries, pleasures, and discouragements of living and still charm your pants off. You'll enjoy walking around his head a bit, I guarantee.

-Seth Abramson, The Huffington Post
"Review" by ,
The intimacy of Gregory Sherl’s writing is seductive. In Heavy Petting, Sherl’s first full-length collection and the debut title from YesYes Books (September 2011), the poetry is so revealing that whether the writing is autobiographical or not, Sherl gives the impression he is willing to cut himself open, to bleed nakedly for his work, for his reader.

from diode
Review by Roxane Gay, co-editor of
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