Song and Dance
By Alan Shapiro
(Houghton Mifflin, Hardcover, 9780618152858, 80pp.)
Publication Date: February 2002
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Alan Shapiro's seventh collection celebrates art as a woefully inadequate yet necessary source of comfort. "Amazingly sensitive and tough-minded" (Tom Sleigh), the poems in Song and Dance intimately describe the complicated feelings that attend the catastrophic loss of a loved one. In 1998, Shapiro's brother, David, an actor on Broadway, was diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer. Song and Dance recounts the poet's emotional journey through the last months of his brother's life, exploring feelings too often ignored in official accounts of grief: horror, relief, impatience, exhaustion, exhilaration, fear, self-criticism, fulfillment.