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More Than Meets the I
New York School poet, artist, and art-historian David Shapiro was in town for a reading and lecture, and wanted to pay a visit to the Poetry office. Partly, he was just curious, having wanted to see Harriet’s haunts since he was a boy – Shapiro started publishing poems just into his teens, having been mentored by the late Kenneth Koch – and was first in the magazine way back in 1966.
But he also wanted pick up a few copies of our brand-new October issue, which features a review of his New and Selected Poems. The review, written by Harriet’s own blogger, Ange Mlinko, is part of an omnibus feature in which she also looks at new books by Natasha Trethewey, Rae Armantrout, Meghan O’Rourke, Henri Cole, and Jay Wright.
Well, thanks to Assistant Editor, Fred Sasaki, all the logistics were worked out, and David came by late one afternoon, handing around collages he’d made for the staff and telling stories I wish I had room and the courage to repeat here – he seems to have known everyone from Lionel Trilling to Jasper Johns, and of course he was infamous for putting his feet up on the desk of the President of Columbia University during the student unrest of 1968 and smoking one of the man’s cigars. But it was poetry he talked about most excitedly, and Shapiro is a man for whom, as Ange puts it, “language is always larger than the poet.” As she continues in the opening lines of her omnibus review, “There are many kinds of poetry; poetry performs many functions; poetry is more plastic than sculpture, has more microtones than any formal musical system — with fewer rules. Poetry embraces the whole world. What can match the polyamory of language?”
You can read about Shapiro’s work – and much more – in Ange Mlinko’s “More Than Meets the I” right here.