By Alan Shapiro
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hardcover, 9780618452439, 96pp.)
Publication Date: March 1, 2008
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From a winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, a new collection that explores the vagaries of love and the place of beauty in a time of war.
In October 2002, at the age of fifty, Alan Shapiro collapsed while playing basketball. A few months later, on the eve of America’s invasion of Iraq, he remarried. The beginning of this happy chapter of his life coincided with a keen reminder of his own mortality and the menacing nature of the times we live in. The poems in Old War, Shapiro’s ninth and most innovative collection, were written under the double aspect of love and fear, of hope that comes with any fresh start and the sense that history will eventually undo or destroy whatever we struggle to make. Through an impressive variety of forms and styles, from first-person lyrics to dramatic monologues spoken by characters ranging from a country and western singer to a Jewish comic doing standup in heaven, they cast brilliant light on the nature of art, love, and family in a world defined by brutality, deception, and instability.
Alan Shapiro is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of nine acclaimed books of poetry. He is a former recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Award and the Los Angeles Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was recently elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.