Shapiro has several related styles all devolving on a wonderfully assured grasp of language as an object in itself. In the poems that reveal this most clearly his method parallels Barthelme's in prose -- ransacking the mind's attics and making improbable arrangements of the tatty, unseasonal stuffs shelved away there. The elements are sometimes linguistic (crystallized usages; subtle but distinctly particular styles of diction), sometimes figurative (his images are select, but their impact still is strongly verbal); and their process of assemblage is Dadaistic but in a most refined and civilized fashion. As in raw, original Dada, interpretation is a marginal (frequently impossible) matter, but the modulations from image to image and line to line are made here with such knowing finesse that the range of effects is immeasurably greater and the appeal is of a vastly broader, more human order. Some of the poems are more conventional, but the essential unpredictability remains, a faintly eerie playfulness and an impressive dereglement of the familiar.