Synopses & Reviews
Poetry. A book-length narrative poem, or a novella-in-verse if you prefer, HOW TO BUILD THE GHOST IN YOUR ATTIC is a novel-poem with a literary sci-fi bent, a shadow-text to Oedipus written in a style that is up-to-the-minute. With wit, dynamism, and cutting senses of urgency and humor, Iowa Prize winner Peter Jay Shippy tells the tale of Isaac Makepeace Watt, a melancholy man living in a Thebes that is much like contemporary America. The House of Cadmus still rules (and will fall), but they only appear in the poem as media white noise. Isaac's concerns are personal, his father's illness and his own moral decrepitude. There are talking monkeys, plagues, oracles, and nano-robots-you know, the usual agoramania.
"Iowa Prize winner (Thieves' Latin) Shippy's third collection is a novella-in-verse written in stepped tercets reminiscent of William Carlos Williams'. Told by a resident of a very modern-sounding Thebes, the poem presents itself as a Bizarro-world remake of the Oedipus cycle. Yazoo, a cow, crashes through the chatty speaker's ceiling, spurring him to pontificate about his media-obsessed life and personal struggle with a sick father. Dreamy, playful and at times campy, Shippy's poem interweaves the voices of talking monkeys, birdbots and a flirty Sphinx. The text bends and blends genre, myth and allegory, highlighted by the speaker's catchy patter: 'After // her chutz- / pah / I can't manage to oompah // the money shot.' This is ambitious work that manages to be frequently dynamic, describing a world much like our own: 'These are dark days for our town. / A virulent stain of self-schaden- / freud- // e / is replicating / spreading the boos.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Peter Jay Shippy is the author of three books: Thieves' Latin (Univ. of Iowa Press), Alphaville (BlazeVOX Books) and a novella-in-verse, How to Build the Ghost in Your Attic (Rose Metal Press). He was born in Niagara Falls and raised on his family's apple farm on the shore of Lake Ontario. Shippy was educated at Northwestern University, Emerson College and the University of Iowa. His poems, plays and essays are widely published, including: The American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Jacket and Ploughshares. Shippy is the recipient of the Iowa Poetry Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award, two artist grants in creative from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches literature and creative writing at Emerson College. He lives in Boston (the American one) with his wife and twin daughters, Beatrix and Stella.