Shuffle Play, by Jill Michelle-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

Shuffle Play, by Jill Michelle

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Jill Michelle
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Poetry, chapbook, 44 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

In the choose-your-own-poem chapbook, Shuffle Play, Jill Michelle invites readers to transport themselves in creative ways through this collection of song-inspired, narrative pieces. Shuffle Play’s assorted poems explore themes of coming-of-age, sexual assault/PTSD, motherhood, love, loss and grief. The works here, examining both everyday moments and historical events like 9/11 and the COVID-19 pandemic, are composed in both free and formal verse with acrostic, ghazal, sonnet and tanka/waka forms represented.

Musical artists whose songs inspired the poems in Shuffle Play include Beck, Pat Benatar, The Clash, The Doors, Bob Dylan, Fruit Bats, Ben Harper, The Hold Steady, Billie Holiday, The J. Geils Band, The Modern Lovers, Modest Mouse, Nirvana, No Doubt, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pixies, Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, R.E.M., Sandy Rogers, The Shins, Simon & Garfunkel, Stealers Wheel, The Vaselines, Violent Femmes, The White Stripes and Wilco.

“Arranged to mimic the functionality of a jukebox, Jill Michelle's Shuffle Play demands to be kept in your pocket and opened at random. Whether you open to ‘the shock of saffron-shot treetops’ or you ‘wake to crimson,’ each poem is a stop on the tour: here is where you place your grief, here, your love, just over yonder, your rage, and there you go, ‘pedals spun furiously / under sneakered feet, not yet / needing to know their destination.’ No matter where you appear, let the numerical jukebox codes at the bottom of each poem guide you through Jill Michelle's Shuffle Play. You'll want to hit repeat when you're done.”

—Shilo Niziolek, author of Little Deaths (Riot in Your Throat, 2024), atrophy (Querencia, 2023) and Dirt Eaters (Bottlecap, 2023)

Jill Michelle is the author of Underwater (Riot in Your Throat, 2025) and winner of the 2023 NORward Prize for Poetry. Her poems and creative nonfiction pieces have appeared in literary journals such as 805 Lit + Art, DMQ Review, Drunk Monkeys, New Ohio Review and SWWIM Every Day. She teaches at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. Find more of her work at byjillmichelle.com.