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Night of the Republicby Alan Shapiro
Synopses & Reviews
Praise for Alan Shapiro
“What makes Shapiro so important to American poetry right now is the success with which hes taken over the territory of fiction writers. While his poems maintain the compression and intensity of lyric, they also open to the twists and bursts of colloquial American speech, that mongrel medium with which we craft our lives together . . . His poems are both artful and unpretentious.”—Boston Review
[Shapiro] seeks what lies at the deepest level of the human heart.”—Chicago Tribune Books
“Mr. Shapiro is a shrewd and sympathetic moralist. He never trivializes his subjects with high-minded flourishes or stylistic gimmicks . . . [H]is seriousness is admirable . . . [and his] poems are not likely to be forgotten.”—New York Times
“[In Shapiros poems], the intensity of love at its height—love of another person, love of life itself—is what stays with the reader, with a depth and density that [is] one of Shapiros more outstanding achievements.”—Tikkun
“[Shapiro holds] fast to love and joy in an often unjust, brutal world.”—Washington Post
The tenth collection of poems from Alan Shapiro, author of SONG AND DANCE and OLD WAR
Alan Shapiro was the second Phoenix Poet (after David Ferry) in Fall 1983, so it is with great anticipation that we welcome him back to the fold after twelve years with his newest book Reel to Reel, just in time for the 30th anniversary of the series.The volume bears all the hallmarks of the beautifully composed poetry that weve come to expect from Shapiro: the poems move from the intimacies of domestic love and attachment, and proceed outward to include contemporary social and political realities, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq via Homers Iliad. But Shapiro has also evolved as a writer, taking a quantum leap of faith, as it were, to explore new modes of expression and alternate ways to propel his verse syntactically. Like his earlier books of poetry (most of them published by this Press), Shapiros abiding subjects remain: Reel to Reel is very much a book about fundamental human truths, but it also yearns for truth in a larger universe we barely comprehend, from the natural worlds infinitely small realities to the infinitely large expanse of the cosmos. This is, far and away, his most ambitious book.
Reel to Reel, Alan Shapiros twelfth collection of poetry, moves outward from the intimate spaces of family and romantic life to embrace not only the human realm of politics and culture but also the natural world, and even the outer spaces of the cosmos itself. In language richly nuanced yet accessible, these poems inhabit and explore fundamental questions of existence, such as time, mortality, consciousness, and matter. How did we get here? Why is there something rather than nothing? How do we live fully and lovingly as conscious creatures in an unconscious universe with no ultimate purpose or destination beyond returning to the abyss that spawned us? Shapiro brings his humor, imaginative intensity, characteristic syntactical energy, and generous heart to bear on these ultimate mysteries. In ways few poets have done, he writes from a premodern, primal sense of wonder about our postmodern world.
From a winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, a new collection that explores the vagaries of love and the place of beauty in a time of war.
In October 2002, at the age of fifty, Alan Shapiro collapsed while playing basketball. A few months later, on the eve of Americas invasion of Iraq, he remarried. The beginning of this happy chapter of his life coincided with a keen reminder of his own mortality and the menacing nature of the times we live in. The poems in Old War, Shapiros ninth and most innovative collection, were written under the double aspect of love and fear, of hope that comes with any fresh start and the sense that history will eventually undo or destroy whatever we struggle to make. Through an impressive variety of forms and styles, from first-person lyrics to dramatic monologues spoken by characters ranging from a country and western singer to a Jewish comic doing standup in heaven, they cast brilliant light on the nature of art, love, and family in a world defined by brutality, deception, and instability.
About the Author
Alan Shapiro is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of nine acclaimed books of poetry. He is a former recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Award and the Los Angeles Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was recently elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Table of Contents
Everything the Traffic Will Allow 1 Transistor Radio 4 Sleet 8 Scan 10 The Match 17 The Phone Call 23 The Accident 25 Joy 28 Up Against 31 The Last Scene 33 Fly 37 The Big Screen 39 Three Questions 41 Broadway Revival 43 If I Only Knew Then 46 The Old Man 49 To the Body 50 Song and Dance 54 Last Impressions 57
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