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How Charlie Shavers Died and Other Poems
Harvey Shapiro



Wesleyan Poetry Series

Wesleyan
2001 • 88 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6461-0



“Though his subjects range from aging to Judaism, Harvey Shapiro here proves to be foremost a New York poet, one who evokes the city’s neighborhood... [continued in Reviews below]”—The New York Times Book Review

With its passion, humor, and rich detail, this exquisite volume marks Harvey Shapiro's finest work to date.

With enormous wit and vitality, Harvey Shapiro's new collection of poems focuses on the approach of death, mingling canny observations of the city that never sleeps with homages to Hart Crane, George Oppen, the poet Rachel, and David Ignatow. Characterized by its focus on the urban world of New York, the Jewish tradition, and domesticity, Shapiro's poetry achieves a distinctive brilliance and true wisdom. These poems view life from the vantage of seventy-six years, deeply informed by the serious study of literature and language and always attuned to the present, as well as to the body, weather, and sex. With its passion, humor, and rich detail, this exquisite volume marks Harvey Shapiro's finest work to date.

Reviews / Endorsements

“Though his subjects range from aging to Judaism, Harvey Shapiro here proves to be foremost a New York poet, one who evokes the city’s neighborhood landmarks and native traditions in spontaneous, snapshotlike montages . . . But for Shapiro, the great poetry about New York is just as integral to the city as any store or street . . . poets like Frank O’Hara, David Ignatow, and George Oppen appear as both subject . . . and a seeming influence on Shapiro’s talky, improvisatory voice and lines driven by unpredictable, energizing enjambment.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Several decades of curt and understated verse, devoted at once to his native New York City, to the literary forebears he admires, and to a gruff, self-consciously masculine sound, dominated Shapiro’s 1997 Selected Poems, also from Wesleyan. This new collection shows the poet sadder and more reflective, but essentially unchanged . . . several [poems] work well as reflections on a long life, and plenty include well-made and humbled stanzas.”—Publishers Weekly

“ ‘These poems are filled with regular flashes of the character of a man who is lusty and long lived, learned, and smart with prosody, joyous in the regular act of writing, and generous to his audience. Nothing here is weak, only exquisite poem after poem vivid with the sensory and sensual life of Harvey Shapiro’s city, his friends and his passions.”—Hilda Raz, Department of English, University of Nebraska, Lincoln

From the Book:

New York Notes

1.
Caught on a side street
in heavy traffic, I said
to the cabbie, I should
have walked. He replied,
I should have been a doctor.

2.
When can I get on the 11:33
I ask the guy in the information booth
at the Atlantic Avenue Station.
When they open the doors, he says.
I am home among my people.



Author Photo

Harvey Shapiro's many books include National Cold Storage Company (Wesleyan, 1988), The Light Holds (Wesleyan, 1984), and Battle Report (Wesleyan, 1966). In 1997, Wesleyan and Carcanet co-published his Selected Poems. Shapiro published his first book in 1953, shortly before joining the editorial staff of the New Yorker magazine, where he was fiction editor from 1956 - 57. He was editor of the New York Time Book Review from 1975 until 1983. He is now senior editor of the New York Times Magazine.



Sat, 15 Apr 2017 15:29:36 -0500