February 18, 2023

David Shapiro (USA) 1947

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); Rabbit Duck (with Richard Hell) (Repair, 2005); New and Selected Poems (1965-2006) (Woodstock, New York: The Overlook Press, 2007); In Memory of an Angel (San Francisco: City Lights, 2017)


╬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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