Mixed Companyby Alan Shapiro
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.
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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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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.