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Shane McCrae

Shane McCrae is the author of seven books of poetry, including Sometimes I Never Suffered (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 20200; In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and The Animal Too Big to Kill (Persea Books, 2015), winner of the 2014 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.


Bibliography

Sometimes I Never Suffered (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020), 
The Gilded Auction Block (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019),
In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press, 2017)
The Animal Too Big to Kill (Persea Books, 2015)
Forgiveness Forgiveness (Factory Hollow Press, 2014)
Blood (Noemi Press, 2013)
Mule (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011).

By This Poet

11

Whose Story of Us We Is Told Is Us

Brother is we is each of us we ghosts

Brother of white folks we

don't never known us brother we

Because we never doesn't fits

Nowhere we brother

doesn't fits in bodies



Our bodies we is always walking leaking

like a ghost can't be a body in one place

But every eyes     / Catches and pulls at it

Like every eyes in any

white folks is another

Hole in our bodies



Brother     / Is we is never known them close

Up close     whose ghosts we brother leaking is

Whose story of us we is told is us     is water in a fist

Brother we not the fist

we not the water

we the thirst

The Best Thing Anyone Ever Said About Paul Celan

Today you will the     say the any ever

best thing any ever anyone

Said about Paul Celan

The world is if it isn’t     does it matter isn’t



waiting     or it might be might as well

Be if it knew     and some

People for some     people the wait is mostly it’s

a world in which the fact of Paul Celan



was and is always will have been and be

A fact and necessary     living in such a world

is the far greater agony the wait is no

agony     not compared to living in that world it is



Absurd to say he wouldn’t Paul Celan would recognize it still

No person ever is naive

but populations are naive and always will be

even innocent



is the far greater agony

It is     / More like a toothache

the pain of the wait for some

More like a pain in the hole from which



You even now prepare yourself to speak

The Shoots

Nicholas turned     eleven two

Months he ago a he ago

I after him a-running still

But quietly and far away


For the first time turned     far away

Without me or     without that day

Me seeing him on all the bright-

ness gone     the day     the snow had gone


Completely gone     as we have gone

Who were the worlds we walked     far down

Into our lives without each oth-

er as     snow into earth as water


Goes into earth     and as the water

Touches the roots the dry roots wait for

A signal from the sun and air

And do not green the shoots     and what


The water thought it was and what

I thought I was we learn we’re not we’re

Life but not always life and not

Forever     he grows without his father