Book Club: King of Shadows

The Book Club June selection is King of Shadows by Aaron Shurin, who is the director of the MFA program (and my professor!) here at USF.

We’re meeting on Tuesday, June 9, 2009 in the Community Garden (just west of the Education Building, weather permitting) to discuss this collection of essays.

To get the book through the library’s free service Link+, click here. It will be delivered to Gleeson in about 4 business days. Or you can purchase it at the USF Bookstore, or at a local book seller like The Booksmith on Haight St. or The Green Apple on Clement St.


Publishers Weekly says, “This emotionally potent collection of 20 essays by noted Bay Area poet Shurin (Involuntary Lyrics) begins with a meditation on his fear of birds (“of course they’re dinosaurs”) and coming out in radical UC-Berkeley in the late 1960s. The collection progresses through meditations on how the difference between Shakespeare’s Oberon and Puck shaped his identity as a gay man and a poet, and his indebtedness to Robert Duncan, Frank O’Hara and Denise Levertov. The accumulation of biographic and literary details conjures up an apparitional dreamscape of a very specific moment in American history–a new sense of personal and literary freedom, a new period of progressive political and literary ideas. Shurin’s idiosyncratic style can startle with its imagery and captures a complicated, conflicted relationship to several cultural identities. Describing his anxiety about his looks before going to a bar, he writes ‘oh, my wiry, independent, shtetl hair, my Ukrainian ribbons from my mother’s side, folkloric bonnet of curls, was out of the question, way too heavily accented, ruefully unacceptable, untidy, un-Californian….’ The author addresses forthrightly the question of AIDS by the end of this book, one of Shurin’s best.”

Call 415-422-2236 or email for more details or to sign up for the book club mailing list.

Hope to see you there!

4 thoughts on “Book Club: King of Shadows”

  1. hooray for essays! The book sounds really good and I love the location. I’m going to try to make this one.

  2. Just finished King of Shadows and looking forward to discussing it on Tuesday. Check out NPR Summer Reading list for good ideas for our next book.

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