The Books of Red Shuttleworth
Lucky 13: Short Plays about Arizona, Nevada & Utah --anthology, with plays by Jerry L. Crawford, David Kranes, Gus Edwards, Julie Jensen, Aden Ross, Red Shuttleworth, Paavo Hall, Bob Mayberry, John D. Newsom, Brian Kral, Brighde Mullins, Christopher Danowski, and Mark Jensen-- (University of Nevada Press, 1995)
Western Settings: Poems (University of Nevada Press, 2000)
We Drove All Night: Poems (Finishing Line Press, 2011)
Johnny Ringo: Poetry (Riverhouse Lit, using CreateSpace, 2012)
Ghosts & Birthdays: Poems (Humanitas Media Publishing, 2012)
High Plains Fandango: A Play (Humanitas Media Publishing, 2015)
Woe to the Land Shadowing: Poems (Blue Horse Press, 2015)
With encouragement from Tom Radko (Director of the University of Nevada Press in the 1990's) and William L. Fox (Director of the Nevada Arts Council in the 1990's), I edited Lucky 13, an anthology of regional plays. The short form is tough, but it offers the thrills of a bout between championship-quality welterweight boxers. To this day I am especially blown-away by David Kranes' Cantrell, about a hit man on the desert... on the loose. Some of the plays in Lucky 13 are less than memorable (thank the gods), but over half of them are splendid and, twenty years after publication, still ought to be produced. Although Lucky 13 is essentially out of print, one can finds copies on Amazon.
Although I began writing poetry in 1967 and had been publishing in fine journals since 1973, and although I was able to get a few chapbooks published and had been a finalist in over half the very competitive book publication competitions, by the 1990's it looked like my poems would never gain book publication... and not with a university press. But Tom Radko at University of Nevada Press took a chance, and Radko had Bill Fox work as my editor on cobbling together a coherent book that had an arc, and Western Settings appeared in 2000. It held poems that had first publication in some fine journals, including Ontario Review, Prairie Schooner, and West Branch. In 2001, Western Settings received the first Spur Award for Poetry from Western Writers of America. Before too long, True West reprinted a poem from the book... the only time that magazine has ever published a poem in the print edition. Western Settings is out of print. In fact, the University of Nevada Press, after the tenure of Tom Radko, hired a quintessentially stupid director for the press and she killed the poetry program entirely. Readers who wish to own Western Settings can locate used copies on Amazon.
More chapbook than book, We Drove All Night is the only chapbook or book that I have not campaigned for with any energy. I include it here only because it is available to readers via Amazon. It is a fine collection of poems, sure, but Finishing Line Press (I learned after they accepted this work for publication) is little better than a vanity press and run by shit-heels I rapidly developed a loathing for.
The Old West pistolero who most reminds us of the mad Roman emperor Caligula was Johnny Ringo. His craziness was fascinating. Ringo is famous yet, or infamous, but he is of little historical import. He was NOT at the gunfight at OK Corral. Ringo is NOT central to any vital history. But Ringo was hilariously mad, a goof, a drunkard, a man with inclinations so violent, yet posted against a singular view of Christian theology, that I could not help but write a book-length poem that followed his failed life. I tried to write Johnny Ringo as if it was a poem that Samuel Beckett could write if someone other than Beckett was writing it. When the poem was written, I could not imagine any publication that could publish it in its entirety. Through facebook, though, I was befriended by Yoly Fivas. Yoly was using CreateSpace (print-on-demand) to publish books. And she, through her Riverhouse Lit imprint, published Johnny Ringo, winner of the 2013 Spur Award from Western Writers of America for Best Western Poem. To this day, Johnny Ringo enjoys sales spurts on Amazon.
I think it was Emil Cioran who wrote that he loved reading biographies, because it was entertaining and instructive to learn what delusions and illusions of youth came to at the end of men's lives. For years I had been writing bio-sketch poems (Mikhail Lermontov, Wyatt Earp, Georgia O'Keefe, Waylon Jennings, and many others) which were published in wonderful journals, like Blue Mesa Review, Chattahoochee Review, Concho River Review.
and Los Angeles Review. A friend, journalist Kris Wetherholt, was starting a press... and Kris' Humanitas Media Publishing issued this collection in 2012... with a painting of Marilyn Monroe (by my daughter Ciara Shuttleworth) on the cover. Ghosts & Birthdays is available on Amazon.
Commissioned and first produced by The State University of New York at Fredonia, with a development reading by the Echo Theater of Los Angeles, High Plains Fandango, a play about water scarcity and aquifer privatization, premiered at SUNY-Fredonia (directed by Tom Loughlin) on February 24, 2012. Given publisher/journalist Kris Wetherholt's commitment to coverage of global stress points/conflict, she graciously offered to have her Humanitas Media Publishing bring out this play in a fine paperback edition (with a cover photograph by Ed Kashi)... so that perhaps other theatres, both professional and academic, might produce it again.
The fire season of 2015 in Washington State was the worst in history. Out of the daily smoke and threat of wildfire came the poems that comprise Woe to the Land Shadowing. Poets Jeff and Tobi Alfier (who run Blue Horse Press and a fine literary journal, San Pedro River Review) offered to publish a chapbook of these poems. Some had already been in chapbooks, so it was the second of of summer that seemed the prospect, but I nailed all the fire season poems into one suite... and Jeff and Tobi's Blue Horse Press rapidly published the book.
And the next book.... Who the hell knows if there is a next book. We shall see. Also... no mention so far of the 130-plus chapbooks to my name since 1971's Moaning Woman Wind came out from Lazy Ears Press. That's the thing. I love books. But I also love chapbooks and would like to live and write long enough to published at least 200 chapbooks. I want to drift... to wander my beloved American West... just some old Basho-like, flea-ridden, Doc Holliday-like old mezcal-drinking poet.
(1989, Stillwater State Penitentiary,
where the Younger Brothers
were incarcerated after the failed
Great Northfield Raid)