Artist Statement

Stephen Shoup often pretends to know his part in the narrative. A series of loosely-based philosophical concerns and minor spiritual convictions dominate his uniquely distorted world view. Periods of creative outbursts are interrupted by his academic pursuits, which he realizes often only dilute the content of his work, but somehow vindicate his concern with being recognized as able to write within formal paradigms. This carbon-based life form is busy weaving together a patchwork of minor successes to shield his relatively fragile persona from the gnawing suspicion that massive failure is imminent. The inability of language to describe the true essence of the human experience is evident in talking with him; his sentences often trail off into inaudible mumbles, which in an attempt to later finish, he constructs poems.

the minuteman

Stephen Shoup 

 

Dollar bills to the acne-faced clerk

this is what he works for

Roughly four hundred and forty two each

day

Sometimes he stops writing his staff

reports

to calculate

how many of these four

hundred and forty two dollars

he has earned since 8 am

He does this on his desktop computer

calculator

Damn, does it feel good

seconds becoming currency

 

Some aunt on his mother’s side said more

than once that money was the root of all

evil. She was a poor woman with no

education and a matchbook home in

Missouri, windchimes and a yard

perpetually unmowed. People would say

life’s been hard on her. But he knows

better. If only she’d tried harder, or

read the Wall Street Journal at least on

weekends.

 

He knows how to invest his dollar bills.

A wife in a house who is the warm place

his extremities crave, and craving is a

bull market.

Euphemism Campus Box 5555 Illinois State University Normal, IL 61790