"The coherence Shapiro prizes is both more thorough and more thoroughgoing than that offered by a moralizing intelligence. His poetry comes by its sad wisdom through its accomodations to human happenstance and estrangement. . . .In Covenant, sympathy grounds itself in worldly particulars, and subjectivity begets responsibilities. Hardnosed yet tenderly attentive, Shapiro's acute self-consciousness distills an exacting conscientiousness."—David Barber, Poetry
"At forty-years-old and already the author of four superbly written books of poems, Shapiro has produced a work of such authority and originality that he has permanently enlarged my hopes and expectations for contemporary poetry. His risk-loving swiftness of perception and his affinity for stories that up-end convention and taboo have enabled him to reclaim, for poets of my generation, areas of feeling and linguistic virtuosity that originated with William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, J. V. Cunningham, and Ivor Winters. It is hard for me to see how an ideal anthologist of the future will be able to include their names without gratefully including his."—Tom Sleigh, Boston Phoenix
Alan Shapiro is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments One The Sweepers Maison des Jeunes At the Dump 1. Sunday 2. Saturday 3. If I Were There The Visitation Mud Dancing Virgil's Descent Two Night Watch The Experiment The Dawn of Time Cold Wood The Lesson Three Love Poem Underground Rock Pool Owl Guessing Game Marriage Seventh Month Tour for Expecting Parents In the Kingdom of Pleasure Separation of the Waters Dawn Chorus Kinship Turkey Vultures Prayer on the Temple Steps Turn Four Home Movie Two Elegies Purgatory Covenant