After a Lost Original

David Shapiro
David Shapiro's new volume of poetry, After a Lost Original, emerges as a radically experimental volume of intellectual, erotic, and philosophical intensity. Exhibiting Shapiro's well-known musical ability, the poems melodically change tempo to create a dark divertimento of his underlying themes of multiplicity and doubt. In miraculously weaving together the disparate strands of fatherhood, family romance, religion and politics, the title poem ingeniously challenges the very nature of poetic style, translation and interpretation. The Seasons and Broken Objects, Discarded Landscape aleatory elegies to nature itself, turn New York School Impressionism into something increasingly severe. The passionate sonnets out of Virgil, a rhymed poem that fanatically parodies Yeats's famous prayer to a daughter, collaborations with Shapiro's young son, villanelles, poems of science and other visionary poems that break the secular taboo of the epoch display Shapiro's classical pull over inherently divergent structures. By invoking a myriad of fictional characters, philosophers, histories, figures, furies and forms, David Shapiro celebrates the pluralistic poetic without abandoning the unique sense of power and perspicacity which mark his independence from all schools. The alluring images and envisioned ideas prove, as Harold Bloom wrote, Few contemporaries can temper the expression of pathos with as much elegance as Shapiro can.

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