Reviews

"...Nobody Rich or Famous took me inside of a life that was raw, yet empowering, in a voice he alone keeps. We learn of the mud, trying times and real heart from which this man was forged, and how much he gives away."

BILLY SEDLMAYR, TUCSON WEEKLY, 12/1/2016

A quietly profound memoir. —Kirkus


His easy, comfortable tone is inviting, and he shares the scandals as well as the triumphs of his colorful family. —Booklist


Richard Shelton doesn't so much tug on the heartstrings as play an entire set upon them. —Foreword Reviews


A hard and honest memoir of a life filled with brutalities. —Tucson Weekly


Nobody Rich or Famous is a triumph! One of the best memoirs I have ever read, written with understated grace and mesmerizing power. Do not miss this shining light of a book. —Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Transfer


A gritty book, with several unflattering portraits of an alcoholic father, a physically abusive older brother, and the rough-and-tumble life in the '30s and '40s. But there is also the miracle of close observation, of tender feelings, and the poet who grew like an odd flower between the cracks. —Michael Hogan, Emeritus Humanities Chair, American School Foundation of Guadalajara


Nobody Rich or Famous is a beautiful testament to the power of Richard Shelton's gifts as a writer and human being. Part memoir, part social history, part prose poem, he has made a wise and astute portrait of his family growing up in the hard-rock seams of Idaho. Pampered was not a word known to the Sheltons; ingenuity was. Through his brutal and at times sideways insights, we see the human family more fully. —Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks

"[Crossing the Yard is] Touching, inspiring and at times frightening: a tangible demonstration of the healing powers of art."

THE KIRKUS REVIEW, 07/15/2007

The stories... are enticing observations about life, literature, incarceration, and the human condition, which make for a book that is hard to put down. Shelton writes with skill and candor about society's exiles and their hidden talents, which he was able to bring out in his workshops; his own talents as a writer give the book its power. Both eye-opening and enchanting, this volume would certainly be a worthwhile addition to any collection. —Library Journal starred review


In a spellbinding memoir chronicling the uncommon challenges and unexpected rewards of reaching out to some of society's most complex and generally forgotten members, Shelton's triumphant paean to the tenacity of the creative spirit celebrates the courage of hopeless men who bravely found a way to express their essential humanity. —Booklist


This book is a tribute to Richard Shelton's artistry, to the power of words, and to the talent of men behind bars. 'You have saved me before they might have destroyed me,' writes one of his former workshop participants, 'I am singing.' In this deeply felt and honest memoir, Shelton teaches us the meaning of compassion and makes a moving plea for the arts in prison. —Jean Trounstine, author of Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women's Prison

"Humor, poignancy, humaneness, word magic—these all make Going Back To Bisbee fit company with Dillard, Eiseley, Abbey, and Graves... A beautiful book." 

JOURNAL OF THE WEST

From Tucson to Bisbee is only a hundred-mile trip through the basin and range country of southeastern Arizona, but Richard Shelton makes it a memorable ride through time and experience... a memoir rich in the history of the area and in wisdom about the natural world. Shelton has a generous sense of humor, a clear vision of the world and, ultimately, wonderful stories to tell. —Michael Pearson, New York Times Book Review


A poet of elegance and precision. —Harvard Review


Poet-professor Shelton offers his first full-length prose work—and it's cause for celebration... recalls the violent history of this long-isolated border area... Shelton's literary touch is sure, and he seemingly achieves his effects—nostalgic, witty, inspirational—with little effort. A delightful companion piece to Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence. —Kirkus Reviews


He's a magician, hypnotizing his audience one moment with a tribute to coyotes, then waking them to a discussion of the Apache wars... Shelton possesses great generosity of soul, a gift for observation, and golden sense of humor. —Booklist


A powerful annal of place... Shelton imbues landscapes, flora and fauna with resonance, imprinting themes of memory, history and human nature in the reader's mind... Shelton knows the lore and life of Southern Arizona, and his diction, both precise and evocative, reflects his poetic skills. —Publishers Weekly


There's so much in this book to discover, so many evocative passages and entertaining side trips. —Los Angeles Times Book Review


A heartfelt memoir, a spectacular natural and social history of a spectacular land. It is as fine a book as you will read this year. —San Diego Tribune


It enriches the life of the reader by reminding him of his own past... A lyrical search to determine what has happened during a life lived and experienced. —El Paso Times

"[Richard Shelton's poetry] stands out in its stark, understated ironies. Shelton is a poet of the Southwest and his language is as dry and bony as his desert landscape... the sharp economy of his line, his beautiful equilibrium of manner and matter, already make him an important poet."

ALASTAIR REID, THE SATURDAY REVIEW

"For over forty years Richard Shelton has been establishing himself as the unofficial poet laureate of the Arizona desert and in the process has become an extremely important voice of the American west in general." —Rob Woodard, Burning Shore Reviews