POEMS OF A JEW by Karl Shapiro


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This is a volume of miscellaneous poems on a single theme- and their philosophy and intention are well stated in the introduction: ""No one has been able to define Jew, and in essence this defiance of definition is the central meaning of Jewish consciousness..."" Shapiro is a gifted poet, and the poems themselves are contrived and extremely expressive of the point of view indicated in the introduction. They are in effect the expression of the liberal, third generation Jewish intellectual. But to many other Jews of a different provenance, they will be abhorrent- the Zionist, the orthodox, the greatly assimilated, the mystical Jew whose very existence Shapiro denies. This lessens their universality, but because Shapiro has a fine gift of poetic communication, they will be read and will arouse interest and controversy.

Pub Date: May 27th, 1958
Publisher: Random House