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Selected Poems
Harvey Shapiro; James Atlas, intro.

Wesleyan Poetry Series

1997 • 104 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-2252-8

No sales outside US & Canada

“Shapiro writes in sardonic reverence . . . His poetry is a ‘practical use / Of mysterious names.’ It is modest, usually simple, but precise, courageous, and unflinching in its sadness.” —Hayden Carruth, The Nation

Collection of poems of great emotional investment.

Harvey Shapiro's precise, understated lyrics have garnered praise in the US, the UK, and in Israel. His early poems, hailed by The Nation as "some of the best poems of our generation," were notable in part because they gave new form to Jewish immigrant experience. This collection presents the best work from Shapiro's early books, including the classic poems "Battle Report" on World War II and "National Cold Storage Company" on the death of John Kennedy, and a wealth of new poems, more sensual, but no less wry. Shapiro sees life itself as a state of exile, and writes of the spaces where "for a moment, the light holds."

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Working within the conventions of alienation and isolation, [Shapiro] develops a quietly distinctive and forceful idiom . . . Pre-figured in the earlier poems on Jewish and Old Testament themes, and developed in increasingly flexible forms, he makes good his ironic claim of ‘praise [of] an age that has no monuments.’ Because his irony works dramatically, the brief soliloquies he presents in deliberately low-keyed terms are often surprisingly moving.”—Samuel French Morse, New York Times Book Review

From the Book:

The past, like so many bad poems,
Waits to be reordered,
And the future needs reordering too

Author Photo

Harvey Shapiro's many books include How Charlie Shavers Died and Other Poems (Wesleyan, 2001), National Cold Storage Company (Wesleyan, 1988) and Battle Report (Wesleyan, 1966). He is senior editor of the New York Times Magazine.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:54:24 -0500