© 2023 by Amber Shockley. 

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A Brief Catalog of Common People

What do you call someone who knows what you think? Telepath? Magician? Satan? Shrink? I would prefer, of course, to keep my thoughts private: that's not a choice, though, when the poet's Amber Shockley, and the voices she sings in seem so true.  In these fine, dangerous, and slightly bloody poems, Shockley offers eccentric chorus, and here we find ourselves singing along. But I wish that she wouldn't know so much about human nature, especially mine.

- Alan Michael Parker, Christmas In July

 

Rarely are readers so generously gifted by a poet like Amber Shockley, who somehow manages to combine imaginative wit and accessibility with lyrical polish and a deep, resounding sense of humanity. Too often these days, intelligent verse comes across with all the warmth and color of an iceberg; here, though, is a poet who burns through the usual pretension and blandness like an acetylene torch. 

--Michael Meyerhofer, Ragged Eden

 

Amber Shockley’s poems are witty and wise, displaying a depth of psychological savvy, luscious images, sensitivity to the pleasures of sound, and surprises in language—all the pleasures we want in poems. Here’s a sample that displays these qualities as well as terrific story-telling: “Sex and suicide pacts seem more superfluous / than serendipitous. They’ve found the flatness / of rock music, of rebellion, of even a lover’s body. / They’ve dissolved the fizz that floats on dream, on word.” 

–Susan Ludvigson, Escaping the House of Certainty

 

Amber Shockley’s A Brief Catalog of Common People sings and singes with no apologies. Woven within the wreckage of happiness and hurt are lives that “crash and shatter/ their way through the world.” Shockley lines up these poems like shots and dares the reader to knock them back, one after the other. 

- Jon Pineda, Let's No One Get Hurt