David Shapiro

David Shapiro

About David Shapiro

Born on 2 January 1947 in Newark, New Jersey, Shapiro was deeply influenced by close family members at a very early age to immerse himself in literature and music. His maternal grand-father, Berele Chagy, was a noted cantor and composer. His mother, Frieda, considered an extremely promising classical singer in her youth, was well acquainted with close friends of Auden and Spender in the South African literary community. His uncle, John Chagy, a pianist, published poems in the New York Times. Irving Shapiro, David's father, is a physician who studied sculpture with one of Rodin's students, makes portrait busts, and has always read literature voraciously. Between the ages of four and ten, David Shapiro read and memorized sizeable chunks of the writings of Milton, Shakespeare, and Blake, and at ten, he took great pride in memorizing Eliot's The Waste Land. He attended Columbia University, won a Kellett Fellowship to Cambridge University, and edited, with Ron Padgett, An Anthology of New York Poets (Random House, 1970). At nine, Shapiro wrote his first poem. For the next seven years, he spent one to three hours a day writing poetry. He began publishing abroad at the age of ten, and his first American publication came in 1960 (in the Antioch Review). Driven to succeed as a poet, he haunted the Newark Public Library, one of the first and best open-stack public libraries in the East coast, and tried to read every book in the poetry section.
His early books are January (Holt, Rinchart and Winston, 1965), Poems from Deal (Dutton, 1969), and A Man Holding an Acoustic Panel (Dutton, 1971). More recent titles include House (Blown Apart) (1988), Afrer a Lost Original (1994), and A Burning Interior (2002), all published by Overlook Press. He is an art historian at William Paterson University and also has taught for twenty-five years at the Cooper Union. His monument for Palach with John Hejduk was dedicated in Prague by President Vaclav Havel.

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