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Alan Shapiro

Alan Shapiro

Alan Shapiro has published ten books of poetry, most recently Old War, which won the 2009 Ambassador Book Award. His new book of poems, Night of the Republic, appeared in fall of 2011 from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. His first novel, Broadway Baby, also appeared in fall of 2011 from Algonquin Books. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Shapiro is William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Out on the very edge
of the farthest inkling
of beyond, beyond
the background echo
of the gone beginning,
at the heat death
of the last bit
shivering back
into the nothing
it had been before
before proliferating
out in an accidental
chain of causal
chains of particles
swirling mindlessly
to dis- and re-
combine into the minds
composed of particles
that told the story
of the journey out
of nothing back to nothing
across the pages
of a book high on a shelf
in a library long since
disassembled into
what at the end
will be our only
final trace, our boatman
made of the ghostly
stuff he ferries, of the boat
too and the black water
that isn't water,
or boat or boatman
rowing to no shore.


Claudia Emerson
5 New Poems


"Shot Her Dead"
Words and Music by Claudia Emerson and Kent Ippolito


Poets in Person:
Claudia Emerson