On Christmas Day in 2017, author Christopher X. Shade’s younger brother was found nonresponsive in rural Alabama, and died that night. With this book of poems, Shade’s journey to better understand addiction and the loss of loved ones draws from both the world of his imagination and, in poignant poetic memoir, from his Alabama roots. This follows his 2019 debut novel The Good Mother of Marseille, its search for belonging through turbulent Marseille streets to a better understanding of ourselves.
Shield the Joyous is deeply touching in its vulnerability and often entertaining. Mary and Joseph give 5-year-old Jesus an enormous pair of eyeglasses. Rice Krispies speak of death and resurrection. In North Alabama bottomlands, tall grasses long to protect ducks from hunters. And while paramedics wait in their parked ambulance for the next call, they try on each other’s sunglasses. The book continues the thread of coming to understand ourselves by working to understand others. And a strong message of love and hope transcends what is happening in our families where the disease of addiction pulls us apart and kills our loved ones.
Appeared in MiGoZine’s “Sheltering” issue:
Like with all Paloma Press books, some proceeds from book sales go to a special cause. For this book, proceeds will go to a nonprofit residential treatment program at a women’s center in Pomona, California, called Prototypes. The program aids and supports women, and single moms with their children, in recovery from addiction. It is a lifeline to women who are struggling with addiction and other serious issues.
Published April 2, 2020 by Paloma Press.