Never Cry Woof
by Shafer Hall
Publication Date: March 2007
Available at Lulu for $12.75 (15% discount)
Also available at B&N, Powells and Amazon
Read About Shafer Hall:
Interview at every other day
What People are Saying about Never Cry Woof:
"If Hall likes to elevate the ordinary, in other poems he does the opposite, presenting a deadpan acceptance of the totally weird. In these poems he is quietly introspective, but the calm of his introspection is almost entirely overshadowed by the details of the offbeat and rough world he depicts. In “Brooklyn Aubade” we are gently reminded that at breakfast “egg creams and jellybeans are sustenance too.” His treatment of the typically sad cliché of the couple heard arguing through thin apartment walls is not just easygoing acceptance, but absolute ownership – it is an unassumingly natural feature of his world."
—Jeffrey Eaton at Open Letters, read entire review here
" . . . fucking funny . . ."
— Nathan Bartel, Octopus #9, read entire review here
"Hall is a companion on the long trails, a generous bartender, a joking linguist, a wise cowboy, a charming Southern gentleman, a surrealist with two feet on the ground, a keen observer with plentiful imagination. As he writes in “A Malfunction at the Junction,” with Never Cry Woof, Shafer Hall has “loosed into the world / a tremendous wink.”"
— Dan Brady, Growler, read entire review here
"Santa Fe… the swagger of the ransom of the made-up funeral "Leave me alone Tony Randall" All accidents are intentional, but they're still accidents, buddy… "The planets that are our brains orbit fitfully" Look at Richard playing the piano with that shitface grin.. I've gotta go steal some whiskey now to drink with Ol' Roison the Beau… Take a look at a teenage harmony… "I got angry at the wastebasket there… " Some poets have images passing through their eyes like melting ore until their sockets seal shut … Shafer, hand, foot, etc … "his lungs are well supplied with blood" "Lemme get one of them Roman Coin datebooks" With rocks, salt and nails… We don't have to take this one down Garth… "To own a boat must be a pleasure""
— Eddie Berrigan
"Conceptualize cocoa nibs at the front; this is the sound of the meat coming forward. This is the thrusting with body and weight, thick and unwieldy like a solid old wind. Hall beats the drum that needs beating and keeps the restraint as an elegant, like a sure and scrappy boxer. Here comes the one-two."
— Mike Sammons
"Reading Shafer Hall's Never Cry Woof is like entering a disturbing piece of cinéma vérité. Hall's profoundly near-familiar characters feel like figures from a Hieronymus Bosch painting, but one in which many of the damned are surreptitiously waving rubber chickens. Never Cry Woof gives the gift of consistent surprise, jamming the "Ur" deep into the corners of "surreal", where the sun don't shine."
— George Murray, Book Ninja
"Shafer Hall's poems are so sure and solid that they swagger across the page. Reading them is akin to getting a fierce bearhug from an exuberant uncle; at once comforting and a little scary. With the publication of Never Cry Woof Mr. Hall has come into his prime."
— Todd Colby, Tremble and Shine
"I like Shafer Hall's poems in Never Cry Woof. They're simple and I like that. They're straightforward and I like that. They're funny and I like that. When you read them you'll see they're clear and straight and good and good for you — just like the drinks he pours so well. You should buy a round for your friends."
— Matthew Rohrer
"Smart choice. You stopped, struck by this title, and picked up Shafer Hall's debut collection. But the deep paradox of Never Cry Woof is that Hall has picked you up — you, reader, fickle hitchhiker, looking to go somewhere: get ready for a joy ride. With a raconteur's big-voiced easy charm, matched by a steady, generous wisdom, Hall's poems surprise, delight, and hold you in place, even as he careens through the quirky, urban terrain of his imagination."
— Marion Wrenn
"Though his poems are personal, Shafer Hall is much more interested in your navel than his own. The casually intimate, surprisingly tender, unselfconsciously twangy pieces in Never Cry Woof prove there are still plenty of poems left in unlikely places: Pepper Stevens's gold teeth, Brian Orsak's tuxedo, Herman the Carp's empty bowl, the New Jersey woods just past the Lincoln Tunnel, and somewhere in Central Patricia. Hall knows right where to look."
— Shanna Compton, Brand New Insects
Shafer Hall's debut full-length collection is a brilliant, caninical romp through urban and suburban landscapes from Houston to Brooklyn. With lines like "I had forgotten the beauty of banana" and "a red bicycle that I named "Rambo,"" we are reminded of the little things we often overlook, and these poems make me want to bring a magnifying glass wherever I go ("what are the shapes that I know?")! Hall certainly is a master when it comes to short poems chock full of vivid detail and amusement, there is no syllable in this book that falls flat or feels anything less than truly dazzling. "I want to be that sincere.""
— erica kaufman
A Love Poem (Me-oh My-oh)
The sexy (sultry,
of a 1972 Chevelle.
in front of the mirror
dressed in bluejeans
and a white undershirt,
I can almost convince myself:
I am Tom Jones!
Thrumm, chugga chugga chugga.