Shinder is the author of three collections of poetry: the posthumously published Stupid Hope (2009), Among Women (2001), and Every Room We Ever Slept In (1993), a New York Public Library Notable Book. In a review of Among Women, poet Carol Muske-Dukes observed, “I don’t know of any male poet that approximates the honest terror and desire, the sense of shock that runs through these poems. The poems in Among Women are so fixed in a merciless surgical light and yet they’re so tender and alive with emotion.” Shinder’s stark yet lyrical poems are often concerned with loss, joy, and the vulnerable intimacy of relationships.
A noted editor and anthologist, Shinder edited 10 anthologies, including The Poem That Changed America: “Howl” Fifty Years Later (2006), Tales from the Couch: Writers on Talk Therapy (2000), and Divided Light: Father and Son Poems (1983).
Shinder’s honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and the post of poet laureate of Provincetown, Massachusetts. He was the founding director of the YMCA’s National Writer’s Voice—a national network of literary arts centers—and a writing program for the Sundance Institute. He later became the YMCA’s director of arts and humanities. He also taught at Bennington College and the New School University.
After a battle with lymphoma and leukemia, Shinder died in Manhattan at the age of 52.