Unbound Edition Press today announced it will publish poet John Shoptaw’s collection, Near-Earth Object. The book will include a foreword by the celebrated writer and artist Jenny Odell.
Shoptaw, a leading voice in ecopoetics, is widely published in many of the most respected literary journals and magazines, including Arion, Kenyon Review, The New Yorker, and Poetry. His first poetry collection, Times Beach (2015), won the Notre Dame Review Book Prize and the Northern California Book Award in Poetry.
In Near-Earth Object, Shoptaw explores the interactions, sometimes dark and sometimes joyful, between humans and the non-human natural world. Resisting the human exceptionalism that in its many forms can block imaginative access to the world, Shoptaw entertains the perspectives of a host of others: a cricket, a bat, a nuthatch, a carnival bear, a tree’s shade, cherubim, an asteroid, and Earth herself.
Of Near-Earth Object, Shoptaw said, “I take up difficult and painful topics such as global meltdown and animal abuse, without ever giving up either pleasure or hope. Here, I practice what I like to call a poetics of impurity. I am wary of absolutes, and attempt to make the best of things in the messy world of the relative, the partial, the gradual, and the mixed.”
Patrick Davis, publisher at Unbound Edition Press, said, “John’s remarkable work is formally attuned, entirely accessible, and urgently relevant. His ecopoetics, on full display in Near-Earth Object, propel a vital voice for our challenging times.” The collection was acquired for the press by the acclaimed poet and literary critic, Peter Campion, who serves as executive editor. Near-Earth Object is presently scheduled for publication on in April 2024, in celebration of National Poetry Month.
John Shoptaw teaches in the UC Berkeley English Department. He is the author of On the Outside Looking Out: John Ashbery’s Poetry,the libretto for Eric Sawyer’s opera Our American Cousin (Boston Modern Orchestra Project), and a number of essays on poetry and poetics, including “Why Ecopoetry?” (Poetry).