New and Selected Poems, 1940-1986

Karl Jay Shapiro, Author University of Chicago Press $11.95 (103p) ISBN 978-0-226-75033-0
Scion of the Auden-Spender-MacNeice school of public poetry that came of age nearly half a century ago, Shapiro is a major American poet of a lost era who has been treated most unfairly by time and the whims of fashion. But the wonder and the value of this version of his selected poems, revised from the edition published a generation ago, are in its final but few, nearly perfect new poems. Here the poet-chronicler of World War II and postwar society in Americathat polished, elegant and smooth commentator on the hypocrisies, prejudices and delusions of our common lifebrings himself into our future with exact and telling descriptions of ""Vietnam Memorial,'' ``Retirement'' and his elegy ``At Auden's Grave.'' He rounds his own achievement. All the well-known Shapiro classics that precede these ultimate poems bleed their life and our history into their meaning. As for Auden's grave, Shapiro makes it into a symbol for the centuryits progress, its struggles, its conscience. This is not a redundant selection of Shapiro's poems. On the contrary, it is a completed one, full of compassion and purpose. (September)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
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