“Harvey Shapiro’s voice is unmistakably of the city, yet by virtue of the intensity of his reaction to the city, in his seeking, holding, loving and longing bitterness, he distinguishes himself from the chaos often with lyrical poignancy, elsewhere with sardonic wit.”—David Ignatow
“Having admired Harvey Shapiro’s work from its assured start, I now can say how much that admiration is confirmed by his collected accomplishment. Armed with little more than his naked wits and his pen, he goes out to meet the monster city. And though he cannot win, he survives to report his battle-scars brilliantly and accurately, and his skirmishes with the monster, with ‘American despair,’ and with his own fears. When the story of 20th century American urban life is written, Shapiro’s work should be an important part of it.” —Theodore Weiss
HARVEY SHAPIRO’s parents came from a rural village outside Kiev, but he became an urban poet, whom Cynthia Ozick has called “the American urban poet.” Shapiro was born in Chicago and lives in Brooklyn. He has published eight other volumes of poetry. He has worked on magazines and newspapers since 1955, first on Commentary and The New Yorker, then on The New York Times Magazine, of which he was assistant editor from 1964 to 1975, then editor of the New York Times Book Review from 1975 to 1983. He is now a deputy editor of the Magazine. He has served on the editorial boards of Poetry New York and Epoch and received a Rockefeller Foundation grant in poetry in 1967. He has taught English at Cornell and poetry workshops at Columbia and Yale.
Shapiro is a graduate of Yale (B.A. 1947) and of Columbia (M.A. 1948). He was a gunner in a B-17 in the Second World War, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters.