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Shirley Powell is one of a small circle of poets who delighted and disturbed ed New York and other poetry centers in the 1970s and 1980s with a new romanticism that shed modernism with all its cynical baggage. Lyrical, supernatural, narrative, and deft in portrayal of characters, Powell's poems startled many with their freshness, and their sense of being narrated by a timeless voice.

She is a prairie twister of a poet. Her people and animals occupy a remembered world of small town and rural America, but they are real--they breathe, dream, bleed and die. Her ghosts and demons spring not from myth, but from your grandmother's rocking chair. This book selects 80 poems from the very best of Powell's passionate, spooky, romantic, and haunting poems. Other Rooms, first published as a hand-bound book in 1997, has been unavailable for some time, and we are delighted to bring it back into print.

“Who is this superb poet? ... she is capable of an intense poignancy in reflection, and she is mightily concerned with what it means to be a human among humans and with what it means to be a creature among creatures. She hides herself behind each page...because she is capable of hiding herself... such ability is power manifest.
— David Castleman, Dusty Dog Reviews

“This is the poetry of softly padded feet...of coolly driven power, fried dough and shelter that is based in the sun... their proletarian dignity had me spinning in my stool...They cancel our obligation to ‘night of the living victim’ and weaving a Wordsworthian quilt they open our souls to little and familiar things. Shirley Powell deftly mists us in nature to break our bondage to the laundry list of life.”
— Bob Tramonte, Home Planet News

*** ***


First lullaby?
Hunter crying for meat?
Widow’s lament?
What was the first poem, where?

Can’t find it in artifacts mastodon bones
spread out on a dry creek bed

But I know it
in throat and fingers
hear it when the leaves fall
down to sleep

I write that
first poem to you over and over
as it comes to me

Time doesn’t vanish

Once and once more
we raise our animal heads
stand on two legs
rename the stars

*** ***


Dog’s body at the side of the road
man with twisted legs lying in a ditch
truck carrying thunder down the hill
floating, faces cold in water, those two girls

But those were dreams

Inside my ribs or somewhere
locked in my blood grains
the killer feeds and grows

he’ll have me sometime, that vengeful one
it may be night I’ll be an animal
dazed by rushing lights

These are not the thoughts I want to think
I didn’t ask you to come here looking:
since you did I’ll tell you this, that
we will all cry murder sometime.

*** ***


Buckminster Fuller said,
“ I seem to be a verb.”

That made me think.
My granddad was a genuine article,
my cousin Jill an adjective
modifying every
person, place or thing.
Some men I’ve known are
mostly ejaculations.

The Joneses we keep up with
must be prepositions:
They have so many objects.

And politicians?
They’d be pronouns,
saying they stand for
something of substance
till after the election.

As for me, I’d like to be
a conjunction,
joining all the lost parts
until my life’s sentence
has more meaning.

This is the 179th publication of The Poet’s Press. A Poet’s Press Grim Reaper Book. $13.95. 6 x 9 inches, paperback, 112 pages. ISBN 978-0922558360. CLICK HERE to order from AMAZON. Or, CLICK HERE to order the PDF e-book from Payhip.



Version 24 Updated February 24, 2024

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Joel Allegretti

Leonid Andreyev

Mikhail Artsybashev

Jody Azzouni

Moira Bailis


Robert Carothers

Samuel Croxall

Richard Davidson

Claudia Dikinis

Arthur Erbe


Emilie Glen

Emily Greco

Annette Hayn

Heinrich Heine

Barbara A. Holland

Thomas D. Jones

Michael Katz

Li Yu

Richard Lyman

D.H. Melhem

David Messineo

Th. Metzger

J Rutherford Moss

John Burnett Payne

Edgar Allan Poe



Suzanne Post

Shirley Powell

Burt Rashbaum

Ernst Raupach

Susanna Rich

Brett Rutherford

Boria Sax

Charles Sorley

Vincent Spina

Ludwig Tieck

Pieter Vanderbeck

Jack Veasey

Jonathan Aryeh Wayne

Jacqueline de Weever

Don Washburn

Phillis Wheatley

Sarah Helen Whitman

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