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This book restores to print two stunning verse-essays on the art of poetry by one of America's most revered poets.
Karl Shapiro wrote Essay on Rime, a 2072-line blank-verse meditation on "the treble confusion / in modern rime" in 1945, while serving a stint with the U.S. Army in the South Pacific---far from any library. Rich in both insight and example, Essay on Rime discusses subjects ranging from prosody and idiom to Freud and Marxism, and confronts the particular approaches of such poets as W. H. Auden, e. e. cummings, Andrew Marvell, and Walt Whitman. Trial of a Poet, also included here, was inspired by Shapiro's service on the jury that selected Ezra Pound as the winner of the first Bollingen Prize for Poetry, and gives voice to Shapiro's moral objection to awarding the prize to Pound.
Karl Shapiro (1913-2000) published over thirty books of poetry, criticism, fiction, and autobiography in his lifetime, taught at a number of universities around the country, and served as the editor of the literary journals Poetry and Prairie Schooner. Winner of a 1945 Pulitzer Prize, Shapiro was also a Guggenheim fellow, a Library of Congress fellow, and a member of the National Institute of Arts and Letters. He was himself awarded the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1969. Even today, as David Lehman writes in his foreword, Karl Shapiro's poetry "retains its ability to provoke, instruct, and astound."
Robert Phillips is the author or editor of more than thirty volumes of poetry, fiction, and criticism. He is John and Rebecca Moores Scholar and Professor of English, University of Houston, where he directed the Creative Writing Program from 1991 to 1996. His honors include a Pushcart Prize and an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Literature.
David Lehman has authored or edited over a dozen books of poetry and criticism. He serves as editor of The Best American Poetry series and the University of Michigan Press's Poets on Poetry series, and teaches in the graduate writing programs at Bennington College and the New School for Social Research.
Copyright © 2003 by The Estate of Karl Shapiro. Posted July 2003.
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