Night of the Republic

Alan Shapiro
  • From the Publisher
December 17, 2013

In Night of the Repub­lic, Alan Shapiro takes us on an unset­tling night tour of America’s pub­lic places — a gas sta­tion restroom, shoe store, con­ven­tion hall, and race track among oth­ers — and in stark Edward Hop­per – like imagery reveals the sur­re­al and dream­like fea­tures of these famil­iar but emp­ty night spaces. Shapiro finds in them not the expect­ed alien­ation but rather an odd, com­pan­ion­able soli­tude ris­ing up from the qui­et emptiness.

In oth­er poems, Shapiro writes mov­ing­ly of his 1950s and 60s child­hood in Brook­line, Mass­a­chu­setts, with spe­cial focus on the house he grew up in. These med­i­ta­tions, always inflect­ed with Shapiro’s quick wit and humor, lead to rec­ol­lec­tions of trag­ic and haunt­ing events such as the Cuban mis­sile cri­sis and the assas­si­na­tion of JFK. While Night of the Repub­lic is Shapiro’s most ambi­tious work to date, it is also his most time­ly and urgent for the acute way it illu­mi­nates the min­gling of pri­vate obses­sions with pub­lic space.

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