National Cold Storage Company

Harvey Shapiro, Author Wesleyan University Press $14.95 (103p) ISBN 978-0-8195-1153-9
This collection, which consists of new verse as well as selections from Shapiro's previous books, spans over 30 years, and reveals his evolution as artist and observer. An American urban poet with an informal style that is direct and often colloquial, he captures the essence of life in anxiety-ridden, overstimulating New York: ``If you walk by the river, Manhattan / is like a book, the pages turn, / the words march down those pages. / Look back to the lights along the river. / Wait for the dark, wait for the city to come on, / windows and bridges blazing, / Whatever you needed was there, wasn't it?'' With haunting insistence Shapiro, former editor of the New York Times Book Review , explores his ambivalence, pain and fascination regarding his Jewish lineage, childhood, women and marriage, fatherhood, and mortality: ``I was conceived on the night / of my sister's funeral. / . . . This is family history. / What is unclear is my father's role. / Was the night of my sister's funeral / a suitable time for making love? / Did they both think that? / Or was my father excited by my mother's grief? / Though I honor my mother and father, / I want to ask a few more questions.'' He describes domestic life candidly and with considerable humor and humility, but his words are serious and linger. The length of the poems varies; many are spontaneous snippets of thought, others are longer, carefully crafted and, richer in texture and content, offer more of Shapiro's seasoned insight and tenacity of spirit. (September)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Hardcover - 103 pages - 978-0-8195-2152-1
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