Homeslice: Monologues of Millennialhood by Dayton J. Shafer

Dayton J. Shafer’s Homeslice is a regaling, a rhapsodizing on a singular swath of millennialhood—the ’81-’85 babies, the elders. Part document, part performance, part poetry, these call-and-response nonfiction monologues address and deconstruct the turn of the millennium’s most repressed issues—privilege and enabling, communal trauma, cognitive dissonance, evolving masculinity, artistic portraits, and fallen idols. Framed with the interactive rhetorical refrain: Is Your American Dream—, each monologue casts the reader as a chorus member in the meaning-making process—asking him to examine directly how the American individual can be a citizen of both society and self.

Content Warning: animal death, consent, racism, homelessness, troubled domestic situations


“Dayton J. Shafer’s poetry chapbook Homeslice is a phenomenal, poignant debut about a young man and nation coming of age at the turn of the 21st century. Daring, delightful, and brave, Homeslice conjures an atmosphere of communal call-and-response, and invites the reader to participate with the provocation, “Is Your American Dream—?” With tenderness and vulnerability, Shafer glides beneath the smooth allure of the American Dream to confront “those first tastes of life & death,” racism, othering, consent, misogyny, and gun violence that map the speaker’s kaleidoscopic childhood. Homeslice charts how the hopeful, cool, and impossibly edgy ’90s give way to the tumultuous, violent, and isolating traumas of the 21st century. But despite coming of age in a culture borne of desperation and fear, the speaker demonstrates an avid curiosity about the world, oneself, and the imagination of others. The poems in Homeslice blossom with “the first inklings of other worlds” and celebrate “an imagination-first life.” Creativity, introspection, and “say[ing] the unsayable” are the hallmarks of Shafer’s luminous power as a writer. And Homeslice is a superb example of the avant-garde confronting “unprocessed trauma.” As a poet, Shafer is unafraid to break the fourth wall. His writing is curiosity-filled, propulsive, and startling as Homeslice inspires new human connection and new stories to be told while the American canon shifts again.”
—Rita Banerjee,
author of Echo in Four Beats, A Night with Kali, and Credo: An Anthology of Manifestos and Sourcebook for Creative Writing

Homeslice unabashedly interrogates and delights in the hardest issues of our nation—race, class, sexuality, violence, familial and communal trauma. Shafer is honest about his own culpability, but these soliloquies are never dour. Instead, they are lit through with humor, joy, horror, sorrow, and empathy. His is a most magnificent, most distinctly American voice.”
—Erin Stalcup,
author of Keen

“In this surprisingly expansive chapbook, Dayton J. Shafer moves swiftly and adeptly through his childhood, masterfully conjuring both the specific and universal in equal measures in this American contemporary-coming-of-age story.”
—Caitlin Leffel,
senior editor at Union Square & Co.

“These philosophical passages do not shy away from shame, embarrassment, discomfort. These lines probe at big questions—race, class, puberty, family, violence—with equal parts dark nostalgia and humor. I felt moved, alternately, to laugh aloud and choke back the tears of recognition. This manuscript reveals the true experience of being an American: simultaneously embracing and rejecting one’s identity at every turn.”
—Frances Cannon,
author of Walter Benjamin Reimagined: A Graphic Translation of Poetry, Prose, Aphorisms, and Dreams

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• Prose Poetry | Drama | Monologues
• Little Pigeon Chapbook Series
• 4” x 6” Perfectbound Trade Paperback
• Cream Paper, 78 Pages
• Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-946580-37-5
• Paperback ISBN-10: 1-946580-37-6
• Ebook ISBN-13: 978-1-946580-38-2
• Ebook ISBN-10: 1-946580-38-4
• LCCN: 2023943667
• First Edition: August 8, 2023
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Cover art by Nika Akin, with design by Leah Angstman.

DAYTON J. SHAFER’s pieces have been featured in fringe festivals, barns, abandoned factories, converted laundromats, black boxes, street sides, and with Vermont Public Radio, the Susan Calza Gallery, PoemCity, and Split Lip Magazine. He’s a former writing fellow at Vermont Studio Center, managing editor of Hunger Mountain Literary Journal, and grant recipient from the Montpelier Public Arts Commission.

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