Thursday, January 17, 2008


Protection by Gregg Shapiro Is Released

Gival Press is pleased to announce the publication of the debut poetry collection by pop-culture journalist Gregg Shapiro of Chicago.

Protection has gained the recognition and praise of various authors who have described the collection to a tea, for example:

“In bed with a lover in Boston, putting a cat to sleep in Chicago, hanging laundry by moonlight in Washington, D.C. I like the way Gregg Shapiro’s stanzas—packed with keen observations and physical details—place me solidly in his world. His in-your-face intimacy feels as necessary as it does generous and brave. Protection is a blessedly open and refreshingly out book of poems.”—David Trinidad, author of Plasticville

Limping Towards Chicago

This is what I'll do: put a bullet through
my foot. Change my hair color in gas station
restrooms along the way. Collect silverware,
coffee cups from diners, truck stops. Grow
a beard, shave it off. Leave long, long sideburns.
Knock out a tooth, darken the rest with black

licorice. Pick up a dialect, roll it around
in my mouth, spit it out like a seed. Lose sight
in one eye, gain it back in the other. Wish on
the first star, the fifth. Leave eleven different
forwarding addresses. This is where I'll go
to lick salt from my wounds. Produce scar

tissue. Confident in my disguise; recognized
by everyone. Accept the key to the city,
call me the Village Idiot. Try strangling myself
with the phone cord. My father unwinds it,
massages the creases from my throat. Crawl
through thumbtacks I planted in the carpet.

My mother plucks them from my knees and
palms, applies Mercurochrome and gauze.
At least my brother and sister aren't surprised.
They’re shaking their heads, selling tickets.
I shrug like a city with big shoulders. The sun
is so bright in the morning, I could sleep four years.

Poet Denise Duhamel states: “The stirring poems in Gregg Shapiro’s Protection offer anything but. These poems touch and say what is forbidden, possessing a fragile joy that is all the more treasured because of the speaker’s knowledge of loss. Shapiro’s voice is both freshly innovative and strikingly mature. Chicago, Boston, and D.C. serve as flawless backdrops for his perceptive insights the complexities of flawed urban love.”

The Mid-April Fool

I opened the window. I opened my mouth
but nothing came out. Not a sound but
the sound of the street lamps hissing, “go
back to sleep.” He was already gone, he
was halfway down the block, underground,
in the garage. He was starting the car,
putting on miles. I put on his bathrobe,

licked clean his ashtray. I walked the dog
up the back stairs to the rooftop. I howled
at the moon, I danced like Nijinsky. Closer
to the edge I chanted his name, a wakeful
lullaby. Give me a chance, give me a hint.
If I can borrow a dollar maybe I can buy
an umbrella or a clue, a reason for staying.

Given the intensity of the Shapiro's poetry is no surprise that New Orleans-based gay author Greg Herren has declared “Gregg Shapiro's stunning debut marks the arrival of a new master poet on the scene. His work blows me away.”


Gregg Shapiro's interviews and reviews run in a variety of regional GLBT publications and websites. His poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous outlets including Blithe House Quarterly, Beltway, modern words, Bloom, and the anthologies Sex & Chocolate: Tasty Morsels for Mind and Body and Poetic Voices Without Borders.

To purchase a copy at, click below:
Purchase a copy of Protection at


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