March 19, 2019, at 6 p.m., McManus Theater
Alan Shapiro is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English atthe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Shapiro is the author of numerous collections of poetry. The most recent is Life Pig ;(2016); Reel to Reel (2014), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Night of the Republic (2012), a finalist for the National Book Award and the Griffin Prize; and Old War (2008), winner of the Ambassador Book Award.
Poet-critic J.D. McClatchy observed in a review of Shapiro’s Dead, Alive and Busy (2000), “Mr. Shapiro is a shrewd and sympathetic moralist. He never trivializes his subjects with high-minded flourishes or stylistic gimmicks.” Shapiro’s later collections address the loss of his two siblings to cancer, the aging of his parents, and the strains on a marriage. In describing the domestic details and loss portrayed in Shapiro’s Tantalus in Love (2005), poet Joshua Clover commented, “Such tightly framed tales of domesticity offer a sense of control parallel to Shapiro’s formal facility, reducing and clarifying the poem’s field of action in defense against an abysmal multiplicity of things.” In his memoirs The Last Happy Occasion (1997), nominated for a National Book Critics Circle award, and Vigil (1997), Shapiro has written about the death of his sister and the role that poetry has played in his life. Shapiro is also the author of a collection of essays on poetry, In Praise of the Impure: Poetry and the Ethical Imagination: Essays, 1980–1991 (1993). Alan Shapiro has won the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Los Angeles Book Prize, and a Lila Wallace–Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, Shapiro was invited to read his work at the White House. He read “On Men Weeping,” a poem about Michael Jordan winning one of his six NBA championships. Shapiro has taught at Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.