For Even Further West (forthcoming in 2018)


“In Even Further West, Eric Paul Shaffer weaves a garland of narrative and lyric eco-poems gathered from the fallen blossoms of his experiences in Hawai‘i. After journeying through this book, you will see the illuminated depths of our sacred ecology, our boat of bones, our living breath.”

~ Craig Santos Perez, author of From Unincorporated Territory, and Winner of the 2011 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Poetry


“Shaffer is Hawaii’s Thoreau. Of the usual imaginings of Hawai‘i, these poems resist the normal temptations to pare it down to palm trees and white sands. While being grounded in paradise, Shaffer simultaneously guides you to someplace deeper, someplace holier. Insightful, elegant and unpretentious, these words will make you remember the thing inside that you born with, but lost the second you learned your name.”

~ Christy Passion, author of Still Out of Place, and co-author of No Choice But to Follow (with Ann Inoshita, Juliet Kono, and Jean Toyama)


“In Even Further West, Eric Paul Shaffer beautifully locates himself and the islands of Hawai‘i by means of a pleasantly apocalyptical geography of heart and mind that reaches home 'in the last of the light' to unveil for us in his witty and all-seeing lyricism 'the voiceless and eventual work the dark does.' These are poems you will want to reread again and again.”

~ Joseph Stanton, author of A Field Guide to the Wildlife of Suburban O‘ahu, Cardinal Points, and Things Seen


“Like a cocoon, Eric Shaffer’s new book of poetry transforms mundane moments and objects in nature into something transcendental, and the lines take flight from the page. In the title poem ‘Even Further West,’ he writes about finding a cardinal feather and a cowrie shell and says, ‘Hold them till your mind changes.’ Many of these poems may change your mind about the things you take for granted, maybe even the way you look at the world.”

~ Stuart Holmes Coleman, author of Eddie Would Go and Fierce Heart


“In Even Further West, Eric Paul Shaffer belies the self-critique that ends his poem ‘Upcountry Overlook: Kula, Maui’: ‘I gawked at the furrowed sea and sun-scored red slopes, attentive// to the distant and dramatic, but not to significant lives / close at hand, within reach, and indifferent to our slow recognition.’ While he knows well that ‘the light is gone before we even know we need to see,’ what he sees is instructive: we learn to appreciate the beauty of Maui, but also human pain. Among the most moving of these poems are those that allude to a broken relationship between father and son, and between the poet and himself. ‘If ever there was a good time to pull a Hemingway,/ this is it,’ he writes in a novena. He pulls back, declares, ‘I'm not going anywhere,’ and returns to writing poems attentive both to natural beauty and the compassion that comes of attending to it, as to ‘the close at hand.’”

Susan M. Schultz, author of Aleatory Allegories, Dementia Blog, and the Memory Cards series, and editor of Tinfish Press


For A Million-Dollar Bill


“Eric Paul Shaffer's poems are always filled with clear light and fresh air. They restore deep attention and gratitude, a rebalancing between land and sky.”

~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Fuel, You and Yours, Red Suitcase, and Habibi


“I've known and grown with Eric Paul Shaffer's poems from early on, and I think the poems here in A MILLION-DOLLAR BILL represent his thoughtful presence in the world at his (and our) big-hearted best. His poems are full stories in small frames, always sharply said, never sentimental, relentlessly true, sensuously rich, always welcoming us in.

~ J.D. Whitney, Grandmother Says, All My Relations, and Sweeping the Broom Shorter


A Million-Dollar Bill is Eric Paul Shaffer’s most imaginative book yet! He narrates his poems from original points of view which include a telephone, an incompetent counterfeiter, and the grim reaper’s evil twin. With unparalleled accuracy and clarity, Shaffer’s astute observations turn the world on its ear through your ear. Read these poems aloud and often.”

~ Sara Backer, American Fuji and Bicycle Lotus, winner of the Turtle Island Poetry  Award


A Million-Dollar Bill reached me just in time. After going without any new Shaffer poems for eleven years, I was beginning to wonder if I was going to die of thirst, reading my way across the Great American Poetry Desert. I’m okay now. Thirst quenched but hoping I don’t have to wait that long again.”

~ Bill Porter, also known as Red Pine, author of Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China and Road to Heaven, and translator of In Such Hard Times: The Poetry of Wei Ying-wu, The Zen Works of Stonehouse, The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, and The Clouds Should Know Me By Now


"Eric Paul Shaffer's poems must be radically après-garde because I swear I sometimes understand every word. It's as if Shaffer's appointed himself defender of those corniest of literary values: clarity and precision. What's more, he writes with a naive sense of wonder and play, as if poetry in our century didn't necessarily have to be ambiguous or self-canceling or dead, and earnest communication were still possible between human beings by way of mere, lovingly chosen words and images. You'd almost have to think the man enjoys being alive."

~ M. Thomas Gammarino, King of the Worlds, Big in Japan, and Jellyfish Dreams


For Burn & Learn (a novel)


 “The Cenozoic Era [our actual, current geological era] has evolved into the era of the status update. Like the ones found on Facebook and Twitter, the updates posted in this novel are personal ones from the only moment that ever exists, the present one, that pinpoint of existential pulse which, when plotted in succession to the next and the next, we refer to in our banal and inadequate manner as “daily life.”

Shaffer shows us that there’s nothing banal about it. He expands these moments into dramatic vignettes that are charged with the narrative arcs and compelling characterizations of fiction. It’s as though Hunter Thompson, Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, and every other true-life fictioneer were so high on existence and honesty that they had decided to collaborate on a mosaic made up of every sub-atomic particle of crisis and conflict—Life!”

Robert Clark Young, Book Review: The Ecstasy of the Do-It-Yourself Novel.


For Lāhaina Noon


"The arrival of a new collection of Shaffer's precise, graceful, witty, luminous work makes for a happy day in the Fowler household. No one is better at peeling away a single, ordinary moment until the whole world has been revealed.

~ Karen Joy Fowler, The Jane Austen Book Club, Sarah Canary, and Sister Noon


"Lāhaina Noon is not only a specific study of Maui, but a brilliant examination of a human's place in the cosmos. Eric Paul Shaffer's clear, sane, poems will help you understand where you are wherever you are."

~ Sara BackerAmerican Fuji


"Eric Paul Shaffer's poems, well-crafted and wise, don't speak from the mind, the heart, the spirit--those are our divisions; they speak from the whole, integrated mammal he is--the sort of voice we need more of on this great Earth."

~ J.D. Whitney, Grandmother Says, sd, and Word of Mouth



~ Albert Saijo, Outspeaks: A Rhapsody and Trip Trap (with Jack Kerouac & Lew Welch)


"Mynas, octopi, lovers near the dump, excuses for officers, constellations, a grave that says 'enough' — whatever Eric Paul Shaffer touches turns to kindness, wit, and understated profundity. lt's good to see the old myths off his place [Maui] gently turned on their heads for a fresh, unassuming perspective."

~ Greg Keeler, Epiphany at Goofy’s Gas


For Living in the Monastery, Working in the Kitchen


“How wonderful to discover these lost works in the last leavings of the Twentieth Century. May their author continue to sweep the kitchens, the courtyards, the shrine halls of his always surprising mind. Thanks for the broom.”

~ Bill Porter, also known as Red Pine, author of Zen Baggage: A Pilgrimage to China and Road to Heaven, and translator of In Such Hard Times: The Poetry of Wei Ying-wu, The Zen Works of Stonehouse, The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, and The Clouds Should Know Me By Now


“The poetic spirit connects across the centuries. Shaffer’s outside/in, inside/out view is the next best thing to being there.”

~ Steve Sanfield, Wandering, A New Way, He Smiled to Himself, and A Fall from Grace


“Once again, Eric Paul Shaffer offers up to us the ‘work of the moment.’ In this new book of poems, he takes on monastic life in ancient China. But don't be confused or misled, these contemporary poems have enough irreverence for all of us.

~ James Taylor III, Fresh Leather: The Buffalo Poems and Forty Years & 20 Paces


“These poems--like a strand of black hair in the monastery rice bow--demand our attention and irreverently remind us that ‘enlightenment’ has nothing to do with purity or perfection. ‘Be human!’ Shaffer bellows.”

~ John Kain, Cheater’s Paradise


For Portable Planet


Portable Planet is a marvelous book. I've been following Shaffer's work for years and he is on a definitive upward spiral.”

~ Jim Harrison, The Shape of the Journey, Legends of the Fall, Dalva, and The Road Home


“Graced by the best from the past, the poet wanders. His poems will take you to places you need to visit.”

Steve Sanfield, Wandering, A New Way, He Smiled To Himself, and A Fall From Grace


“Eric Paul Shaffer’s Portable Planet demonstrates a nomad’s sense of place around the Pacific Rim.”

~ Magda Cregg, Hey Lew


“Eric Paul Shaffer’s poems carry us ever inward and out, where particular stones sprout wings, where solid ground is shaken by the nimble fingers of small gods, and the normal everyday ways of life stay blessedly themselves. These poems are portable, they’re the exact same size as the hip pocket of your mind.”

~ John Kain, Cheater’s Paradise


For RattleSnake Rider


“There is a sure, crisp sense of the line and obsession with the durable things of value on earth. . . In a curious way, what I like best about Shaffer is he is not the least bit housebroken, though at the same time he is erudite . . . .”

~ Jim Harrison, The Shape of the Journey, Legends of the Fall, Dalva, and The Road Home


“Eric Paul Shaffer is a dangerous man. It behooves you to know what he’s thinking.”

~ Steve Sanfield, Wandering, A New Way, He Smiled To Himself, and A Fall From Grace


“The beauty is in the bite.”

~ John Kain, Cheater’s Paradise