Vivian Shipley

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All of Your Messages Have Been Erased



Hardboot poems, new & old



When There Is No Shore



Down of Hawk



Fair Haven



How Many Stones?



Poems Out of Harlan County

All of Your Messages Have Been Erased


2011 Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Excellence

2011 Hackney National Literary Award for Poetry


Vivian Shipley’s voice is compelling as she speaks for the women in her book. She gives word to their loss and loneliness, their passion, as well as her own. These poems fill the reader with a sense of wonder at the existence of such ordinary people, their extraordinary struggle and alienation, their grief and rebellious attitudes in the face of life’s tragedy. Stellasue Lee, RATTLE



In her haunting new book of poetry, Vivian Shipley effectively captures the striking voices of many people forgotten by history. All of Your Messages Have Been Erased (Louisiana Literature Press 2010) works to shift the balance of power in the fight between history’s selective ear, and the individuals who struggle to be heard.Adam Nunez, Blue Mesa Review



Not one poem in All of Your Messages Have Been Erased can be ignored and, as a result, we will not be able to erase the messages delivered in this book. This collection shows Shipley as a master poet, one of our finest. ... Absorb the words, the music of Vivian Shipley’s language, that we are fortunate enough not to have to miss. This is a collection you will not want to miss.Yanaguana Literary Review


Vivian Shipley’s new book All of Your Messages Have Been Erased cries out to be read. In poem after poem, stories of those who should matter but are often overlooked—or are looked at askance—are told in powerful, well-wrought lines. —The Hollins Critic


Crazy Quilt


Vivian Shipley has woven together a fine tapestry of themes old and new in her latest volume of poetry, Crazy Quilt. Anyone familiar with Shipley's work knows her Kentucky heritage will surely appear as it does in many of the poems here. This is a rich vein for Shipley, one she mines over and over like an abundant seam of Appalachian coal. Even when she is treading in the steps of the Incas on a trek to Macchu Picchu, she carries Kentucky in her backpack. — David Martin, Prairie Schooner




When There Is No Shore


2001 Word Press Poetry Prize Winner

Winner of the 2003 Connecticut Book Award


"Vivian Shipley's poetry is distinguished by how much of life and life's joyous energy it manages to convey. Alternately exhilarating and tender, her voice is expansive, inclusive and arresting. Ranging from Appalachian Kentucky to Soviet Russia, she does not merely capture the memorable particulars of the landscape, but always finds a genuine human story to tell." – Dana Gioia


"The pantheon you meet in these vivid narrative poems covers an astonishing range from Buster Keaton to Charlotte Mew; from the poet's Hardin County farmer-father to Joseph Brodsky; from Vasyl Stus, a prisoner in “Perm 36”, to Martha Stewart. These intelligent, densely packed poems should be read slowly, the way you savor a good sherry." – Maxine Kumin


"Vivian Shipley is, among her many distinctions, one of America's truly eminent poets of family. Not that she is over-solemn (see her slam at Martha Stewart for a good chuckle), but that, unlike so many of her rootless contemporaries, she comes from identifiable (and complex and ultimately lovable) "people," as they say in the South...which, like every landscape she touches is itself complex and splendidly identifiable. In a word, to read this splendid writer's poems is to enter a veritable world whose sadnesses are matched only by the abiding hope and compassion of its creator." – Sydney Lea


"I have been reading Vivian Shipley for years, and what impresses me most is her range. She writes intimately about subjects as diverse as poverty and the richness of certain foods, childhood innocence and old age, a Connecticut witchcraft trial victim and an imprisioned Ukranian poet. In addition to the range of her subjects, she displays a range of techniques, as her list poem on Martha Stewart and her glossary poem for her son display. The literary poems on Charlotte Mew, James Merrill, and Joseph Brodsky are extremely moving—but so are the nature poems. Has any other poet known so much about fishing? Elizabeth Bishop would take note. When There is No Shore is the best book by one of our fine poets." – Robert Phillips




Fair Haven


"Whether she is communing with James Merrill at his Connecticut grave or with Sylvia Plath as an imagined ally in planting a garden, Vivian Shipley gives us a rich sense of her attachment to landscape and memory...Her narrative skill, exuberant language and cadenced music, the insistent energy and keen eye for particulars she brings to her meditations, signal a splendid and generous spirit." – Colette Inez




Hardboot poems new & old


"Her work reclaims ordinary life by finding value or lessons from the lives she probes. What she finally accomplishes is to create a human community without drowning out her own distinct voice." – Chad Prevost, Chattahoochee Review

Greatest Hits: 1974-2010



Gleanings: Old Poems, New Poems



Fishing Poems



Echo and Anger, Still



Crazy Quilt



Devil's Lane



Jack Tales




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