From a clandestine attempt at theft to a final acceptance of life's convoluted and challenging path in a burst of "Song," Life: Descending/Ascending covers much ground with thistle and wildflowers. Shapiro's second collection of poems is a rare volume that is both celebratory and somberly thought-provoking. It takes a poet, painter or musician to point out the minutiae of details in our human experience, those impressions that most strongly influence us, even in our unawareness of them. Shapiro's poems, in an esoteric but accessible fashion, are signals, symbols, hints at who we really are in this life.
Alice gives an overview of the book:
Ahead of all games, it is a wonderment
that a cache of jewels is not the prize.
Pearls laid round a silken neck
contain a power, erect as a queen's dignity,
delicate as a flower in bud. They speak
invisible gossips, judging this and that.
One brushes a hand gently over their roundness
and feels sublime exhilaration, comparing
their company to the ascent of the sun.
Wild swain had first to gather them intact
from the deep, where an ink-black ocean
conceals a mystery: that one would not survive
the catch. Tangled in sea's rockweed is more
than an occupation. it is the trap.
Alice Shapiro is currently serving as Poet Laureate of Douglasville, Georgia. She has been writing since 1985 when she studied under William Packard, founder of The New York Quarterly and professor at NYU. Her poetry credits include a first collection of poems (...
Watch me join “The Twittering Machine,” but first look at the painting and read MoMA’s short commentary in the link above. We could spend time talking about the “natural”/”industrial” fusion; the ambiguity...