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Mixed Company
     

Mixed Company

5.0 1
by Alan Shapiro
 

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Respected poet, teacher, and critic Alan Shapiro continues his much-acclaimed explorations of childhood, family, and marriage in Mixed Company. Revealing a world troubled by difference while struggling toward commonality, and with equal attention to historical detail and the poetics of everyday life, from the mythic past to the abrasive intimacies of the

Overview

Respected poet, teacher, and critic Alan Shapiro continues his much-acclaimed explorations of childhood, family, and marriage in Mixed Company. Revealing a world troubled by difference while struggling toward commonality, and with equal attention to historical detail and the poetics of everyday life, from the mythic past to the abrasive intimacies of the present, Shapiro charts the many ways our social and sexual identities are formed, threatened, altered, and, for good or ill, preserved. Deeply felt and ambitious, Mixed Company is an extraordinary book by one of the leading poets writing in America today.

"What draws us into Alan Shapiro's Mixed Company is not a conspicuous felicity or any sort of bravura, but the quiet, undaunted way he goes after the truth of human feeling and motive. . . . The poems grope and conjecture, looking for understanding . . . but whatever may remain unsolved and insoluble, the poems are full of astonishing insights, a rare articulateness, and what another age called 'knowledge of the human heart.'" --Richard Wilbur

Alan Shapiro teaches poetry and creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of a collection of essays, In Praise of the Impure: Poetry and the Ethical Imagination (1993) and four previous books of poetry.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The moments of Shapiro's poetry (e.g., Covenant, Univ. of Chicago, 1991) are those of simple exchange, occasions of friendship, marriage, and divorce. Listening for the traces of some greater lifethe inaccessible days of a childhood maid apparent only in her cleaning; a friend on the bad end of an affair, aware of everything but unable to see; race relations as revealed through a basketball game ("Between Assassinations")Shapiro practices the poem as a series of questions, arising and rolling out from single moments (a holdup, a suicide) each revealing tough new layers of convention and prejudice and further questions. Against this, there is only the insufficiency of memory, fragments of lost and unpossessable lives, the small portraits of painful intimacies, "old lore, old news, old burning certitudes we can't/ stoke high or hot enough, yet won't stop ever stoking/ until whatever it is we think we are anneals/ and toughens into an impenetrable shield." Recommended for larger collections.Steven R. Ellis, Pennsylvania State Univ. Libs., College Station

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226750316
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
03/28/1996
Series:
Phoenix Poets Series , #1996
Edition description:
1
Pages:
90
Product dimensions:
6.25(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.40(d)

What People are Saying About This

Richard Wilbur
"What draws us into Alan Shapiro's Mixed Company is not a conspicuous felicity or any sort of bravura, but the quiet, undaunted way he goes after the truth of human feeling and motive. It is sorrowfully assumed, in Shapiro's poems, that people are not like Milton's fusible angels - that there is an incorrigible separateness between spouses, lovers, friends, races, classes, even mothers and children. The poems grope and conjecture, looking for understanding as we do (for instance) when a friend has committed suicide; but whatever may remain unsolved and insoluble, the poems are full of astonishing insights, a rare articulateness, and what another age called 'knowledge of the human heart.'" -- Richard Wilbur

Meet the Author

Alan Shapiro teaches poetry and creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of a collection of essays, In Praise of the Impure: Poetry and the Ethical Imagination (1993), and four previous books of poetry, including the award-winning Happy Hour (1987).

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Mixed Company 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In Alan Shapiro's 'Mixed Company' we see a clear vision of American life coupled with the resonance of a historical context. With a narrative dexterity all too often lost in contemporary poetry Shapiro writes with an unabashed clarity particularly evident in his poems related to America in the 1960's: 'Pick-Up Game' and 'Between Assassinations.' This volume of poetry is a worthy companion to his astute observations in his book of essays 'In Praise of the Impure' and his memoir 'The Last Happy Occasion.' The latter is both wrenching and entertaining.