The author of a dozen books of poetry, Shapiro’s collections include The Eye (1953), Battle Report: Selected Poems (1966), This World (1971), National Cold Storage: New and Selected Poems (1988) and The Sights Along the Harbor (2006). He also edited the anthology Poets of World War II (2003). Influenced by Hart Crane, William Carlos Williams, and Objectivist poets such as Charles Reznikoff, Shapiro’s poetry is known for its economy and pith, and its ironic take on city life. David Barber, reviewing The Sights Along the Harbor called Shapiro the “reigning laureate of New York's vox populi,” and Shapiro’s poems frequently feature the sights and sounds of a now-fading New York.
Often described as a Jewish poet, a city poet, or a witty epigrammist, Shapiro spoke of his own work in the Brooklyn Rail: “What I’ve tried to do in my poetry is portray a quest, a looking-for-the-way, using the city as a trial, as a kind of maze. I guess I have a somewhat religious sense of it—a man tries to find himself and the right way to live.”
Harvey Shapiro died in 2013. He was 88 years old.
Poems By HARVEY SHAPIRO
LIFE SPAN 1924–2013