June 14, 2010

David Shapiro

David Shapiro [USA]

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1947, David Shapiro attended Columbia University from 1964-1968, receiving a Merrill Fellowship to study in the United Kingdom, France and Italy during his junior year. Upon graduation he became a Kellet Fellow at Cambridge University in England.

Throughout the 1960s, Shapiro published in numerous literary magazines, receiving numerous literary awards and fellowships including the Gotham Book Mart Award (1962), New York Poets Foundation award (1967), and the Book-of-the-Month Club Fellowship (1968). In 1970 he and Ron Padgett edited An Anthology of New York Poets, which helped to define that group in its early poetic activities.

More recently, Shapiro has written several books on art and poetry, including a monograph on the poet John Ashbery and on the artist Jim Dine.

In 1977 he was a recipient of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Morton Dauwen Zabel Award. He has also received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Shapiro has taught literature at Columbia University and Brooklyn College and has taught art history and aesthetics at William Paterson College, the Cooper Union, and Princeton University.


January: A Book of Poems (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965)); Poems from Deal (New York: Dutton, 1969); A Man Holding an Acoustic Panel (New York: Dutton, 1971); The Page-Turner (New York: Liveright, 1973): Lateness (Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1977); To an Idea (Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1983); House (Blown Apart) (Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1988); After a Lost Original (Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 1994); The Burning Interior (Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 2002); Out of My Depths (Tokyo, Japan: Kadensha, 2002)

Winner of the PIP Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English

Song for an Envelope

If I were your patient
And you were my
All day you would
heal me
And I would be patient

You tease me Don’t
My act could be fetching
You’d cook me quinoa
And I would eat slowly

Together we’d live
in a shoe made of
plaster blessings

in a wall house of

rammed earth
in Holland
watery subway

I’d teach you the
cloudy chords
You’d sing
the empty words
Full tigers would calm us
You’d hypnotize the tides

For you the horizon lies
For you green seaglass shines
As a child loves turquoise
shameless songs
end surprisingly

We would heal finally
Fold screens and scientific
You’d heal me with your hair
your harp
I’d be our first patient always

All day my lucky wounds
would heal
in you bandages
of blue sea algae
Your solar mill would sigh like smoke
our City melt in the friendly suns

You’d offer me those
useless herbs
I’d analyze
even Paradise
You’d heal me
with water not poison
my medicine would be
a cheap accordion

Reprinted from No: A Journal of the Arts, no. 4 (2005). Copyright ©2005 by David Shapiro.

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