Citizen




Press Reviews

World Literature Today

"These agile prose poems by Aaron Shurin wander and leap sensually from bed, to lover, to home, to natural wonders, both personal and universal. The individual words of each poem collide and mingle, sometimes harmoniously and sometimes with a purposeful dissonance. Citizen is a lyrical and affirming look into the vibrant life of San Francisco and into the mind of one of its most accomplished poets." World Literature Today 


The Rumpus

"Aaron Shurin writes piercingly lovely poetry that's multidimensional and insists on being read aloud, though its eloquence is equally powerful on the page without sound, with that enclosed, attentive ear that can turn poetry into meditation... Shurin's name has been linked with masters like Jorie Graham and Michael Palmer. But his songs have a grace that's his alone."

—Barbara Berman, The Rumpus


The Huffington Post

"Citizen's lyrics are a fine mixture of the crisp and the luxurious if such a combination is possible. With only two or three exceptions, no poem is more than a page long. Things go quickly. The poet gets in, does his work, and gets out. However within that space is a carnival of language, and the reader loves the short wild ride, in part because Shurin revels in the glory of words. He knows they can take us places and entertain, and he allows them to (read: makes them) do both... the whole book, is an embrace of the fantastic."

—Dean Rader, The Huffington Post


Eleven Eleven Literary Journal

"In Citizen, Shurin seamlessly tackles many aspects of life. Often in a single poem he weaves themes of love, class, time, poetry, and even good cheese while he simultaneously unravels them with concocted flashes of specificity... Shurin conjures a Steinian grammar and Shakespearean delicacy, but applies his unique spontaneity and logic to create a voice that is solely his."

—Maggie Heaps


The Bay Area Reporter

"Lyrical and sketched with lush strokes of purpose and panache, these densely evocative paragraphs demonstrate a wide range of moods and desires. It would be difficult to find a piece in Shurin's tightly constructed bounty that doesn't reiterate the beauty of his cerebrally-interpreted text, but there are indeed standouts and, conversely, some pages that could possibly rise above the heads of more inexperienced poetry fanatics."


Rob McClennan's Blog

"The author of some dozen collections of poetry, there is a subtlety to Shurin's work, a series of invisible turns that take time to sink in, and a cadence that appears straightforward but is actually understated, twirling tricks around in air."

—Rob McClennan


Small Press Distribution

"...Throughout Citizen, Shurin produces kaleidoscopic visions of urban and domestic daily life, of sprawling cities and small shimmering objects. Most importantly, he takes the prose poem 'to where the beautiful nights dance like bears.' Citizen promises a journey to a space somewhere in between now and the future, which readers are sure to find both fascinating and familiar."

—Melissa Hohl


Q Syndicate

"These new, 60-plus, mostly one-page are bursts of lyric intensity and sensual imagery with at times hints of personal passions and sexual moments – '...A pulley system raising chin or ass – yanked in – grommet eyes – your grin flushed out as your hand clutches....' Each of the solid texts is saturated with words, a rush and a tumble of exciting and excitable but at all times controlled excess. This is writing that is volatile and nuanced, vivid and innovative, vital and inviting."--Richard Labonte


San Francisco Magazine

"The best pieces, like 'The Stillness,' a monologue by a character who dreams of being a sailor, are moving meditations on human desire; the fluid sentence structure beautifully captures a man's sense of longing. Shurin's strangely evocative imagery is also a delight to unpack, as in this intriguing line from 'Cool Dust': 'A heave of afternoon light pulls a tulip from the turf.'"


X Poetics

"Shurin's ear is finely attuned to prosodic potential; each prose poem in Citizen delights in probing the dangerous acrobatic potential of working on the prosodic wire above the wide space of the prose poem.  What a delicious pleasure for readers!"


The Critical Flame

"His writing folds the mundane and the mythic in with deep images of personal archetype. The passing moments in which the poems possessed Shurin are held fresh to the page in a dazzled string of trigger-touches. They hint of lingering spiral passages, personal journeys, which lie just below such occasions."


Rain Taxi

""The voice—playful, charming, and self-deprecating—creates an engaging persona...These prose poems certainly deserve praise for their rich musicality. They almost overflow with effervescent lyricism...This citizen lives and thrives on a current of lilting language that swarms and swims through him."
—John Bradley