A tribute to the improbable dreams of valiant men in a rough sport.
In this striking poetry collection, Red Shuttleworth, who holds the record as the oldest active boxer (professional or amateur), offers evocative imagery that unapologetically reveals the life of a boxer. From the inspiring hopes of an early career to agonizing defeats, the poems in Eclipse of the Sun take readers on a journey from moderate successes to the realization that a dream of a promising future has become the reality of the long haul of a journeyman. Along the way, Shuttleworth rubs elbows with greats like Muhammad Ali, Chickie Ferrara, and Ron Lyle, exposing the resolute path and difficult end of a hard-lived life.
This collection is an homage to boxing at its grittiest levels, and to fighters who persevere—with hope, blood, and bone—against sense and loss. Few professional boxers earn a living in the ring, and even fewer arrive in their forties with any money left from their sport. In this collection, boxers attain poverty rather than riches, end up in post-career menial jobs, and have no pension plan to fall back on. Shuttleworth’s poetry is a visceral inside look at the brutality and humanity at the heart of boxing.
Have Fists Will Bang, Mackenzie, British Columbia Nature's Course The Dog Knows Winter Is Coming The Boxer on Canvas Prince George, BC, Canada: Four-Round Bout The Dog in the Cemetery Against the Sky on a Ridge Racing Our Seasons All-Night Prince George Waffle House. . .Taking Rest Polished Walnut Coffin A Few Flakes of Snow Collapse Evening at Crooked River, BC
Hurricane, Eddie, Benny, Sonny, and Woody Woodpecker Hurricane Jackson Eddie Machen New York '58. . .Benny Kid Paret Takes Up Residence at an Efficiency Hotel The Farm Construction Sites. . .Blocked Sidewalks. . .Pedestrian Detours Sometimes You Win. . .Big You're Dead When They Cut the Gloves Off Watching the Bout on TV, Benny Kid Paret's Two-Year-Old Son Screamed: Papa. . .Papa. . .Papa. . . You the Better Man? Precise Jabs, a Hook to His Ribs Three Days Beyond Leotis Martin vs. Sonny Banks Woody Woodpecker Hospital Bed in a Living Room
Ron Lyle vs. Muhammed Ali Carrying the Baggage South. . .A Mile Short of True Vegas Roadwork, Six Miles with Ron Lyle in Las Vegas, at the Dunes Golf Course, a Few Days Prior to Lyle's World Championship Bout with Muhammed Ali The Workhouse Lyle vs. Ali, Tenth Round A Taped Jump Rope Dangles in the Night Gym
Not a Contender, a Journeyman Night Train Spokane Faith, Whirligig, Damnation Extra Blanket Union City, Tennessee, Six Rounds Holy Mass for Broken Hands Flash a Smile and Keep Walking Eclipse of the Sun Visits with Joanna Peppermint Go-Go Ancient Diary Overgrown Memory Night Watchman. . .One-Eyed Attack Dog Mutt Last Day of Summer Sparring in a Cold Showers Gym January Roadwork: Watery, Red Eyes The Further Days Afterlife Road Low Rounds. . .High-Intensity Workout Dementia Pugilistica After I Die. . .
Acknowledgments About the Author
Red Shuttleworth holds degrees from City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He has been writing poetry for more than fifty years and has also written short fiction and texts for the theater for decades. Shuttleworth took up boxing while a student at City College of San Francisco in the 1960s. He had three amateur bouts, one of which he won by decision.
“Shuttleworth’s poetic vignettes render the gritty particularity of the hard road and hard end of life in the ring. The visceral imagery is strong and reminiscent of Gary Short’s work. These poems display the sure hand of a seasoned poet.” —Miles Wilson, author of Harm: Poems and McKenzie Rising: An American Frolic
"Eclipse Of The Sun sings its sweet science love-for-the-ring, its sweet science love for the page, into the championship rounds, where most bouts, and books, are won or lost." —Paul Zarzyski, Palooka poet
“I love Red Shuttleworth’s new collection Eclipse of the Sun. I love Red, too, a wizened battler who takes no bull off anyone, thank you, and refuses to give the time of day to all the frauds and sycophants out there — which is to say he’s a true boxer. And a true artist. The poems in Eclipse of the Sun are at once as hart-hitting as a George Foreman right cross and as intricate as a Back fugue, which is no mean accomplisment. Red goes the distance in this collection. And then some. Eclipse of the Sun is an American classic." —W.K. (Kip) Stratton, author of Last Red Dirt Embrace and The Wild Bunch: Sam Peckinpah, a Revolution in Hollywood, and the Making of a Classic Film