V-LETTER AND OTHER POEMS by Karl J. Shapiro

V-LETTER AND OTHER POEMS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1941 Persons, Places and Things by Shapiro was awarded Poetry Magazine's highest prize. Later poems have appeared in Harper's, The New Republic, and other leading periodicals. The present volume is the collection of his verse written while on active duty in the South Pacific. The lack of intellectual affectation makes these poems a pleasure to read. Shapiro is not writing war poems, but poetry while at war. He has definitely not lost his grave and rather noble humanist traditions in the heat of battle. He is still thinking of Thomas Jefferson and Keats, as well as the fighting in New Guinea. The combination is new and good. The vividness of his experience, the strangeness, deepens his humanism, broadens his horizons, attenuates his occasional sentimentality, and gives pith to his cynicism. Except for occasional vulgarisms, this poetry while definitely not great, is sincere, capable, warm and manly. A few of the verse forms are derived and imitative, others are exceedingly well hewn, and occasionally he achieves a really brilliant phrase or flash of insight.

Publisher: Reynal & Hitchcock