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Alan Shapiro

Alan Shapiro published two books in January 2012: Broadway Baby, a novel, from Algonquin Books, and Night of the Republic, poetry, from Houghton Mifflin/Harcourt. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.



Spring 2012 | Poetry

Pervasive ghostly whatnot of the felt invisible streaming back and forth of mass- less particles that anything with mass reels out of itself to reel in whatever’s smaller (how, by what means, pulling with what, or pressing?) along crossing and cris [...]

In Winter

Spring 2012 | Poetry

Broad leaves of bittersweet enveloping the dead and dying trees, flourishing up the trunks and out across the lower branches, to the few abandoned nests they haven’t yet invaded: every leaf now almost seeming to signal something to no one about the [...]

Country Western Singer

I used to feel like a new man After the day’s first brew. But then the new man I became Would need a tall one too. As would the new man he became, And the new one after him And so on and so forth till the new men made The dizzy room go dim [...]


I was the one dead inside the music— my voice forever in the cave of it, shaping the quick clay of syllables into songs of praise. I was the one dead inside the praise that praised you, “singing your praises.” I was the one dead in [...]


Spare me the judgment seat, the immaculate apron with its little chains. Spare me the old saw of a tooth for a tooth, and the pearly whites of the good doctor who brings the blinding bright light down. Spare me That eternal lidocaine. That leaden [...]

Family Man

I stop beyond the pasture in the dark crease between hills that rise so steeply that the only light left is in the tops of trees. I stop where the snow I have to stomp through not to slip on will not break, bracing myself against rough [...]

My Tears See More Than My Eyes: My Son’s Depression and the Power of Art

Fall 2006 | Essays

We parents signed in and entered the waiting area of the boys’ ward that doubled as a family room during visiting hours. We migrated to the far corners of the room, as far away as possible from one another, as if afraid of contagion. Maybe it was easier that way for us to think, “My kid is different from theirs; he isn’t really fucked up or suicidal, or violent; he’s just going through a rough patch, a phase.” We sat in silence, waiting for our sons; under bright fluorescent lighting that gave us all a sickly pallor, we looked anywhere but at each other; we looked at the rubber furniture, the grimly cheerful yellow walls, the message boards here and there scribbled over with institutional graffiti: goals for the day, prayers, bromides, warnings, rules. We were seeking some measure of privacy in a room whose every feature declared No Privacy Allowed.


The Conversation

Winter 2004 | Poetry

Sun flickers through the trees beyond the window outside the room in which we sit all morning, talking around the table whose wooden surface quickens with shuttled light and shade, leaf shadow and sun both weaving and woven, each by each, as if the [...]