A fabulous reading by David Shapiro this evening for Alex Young's series at the BPC (see Jordan's trustworthy review here for more details), and Happy 35th anniversary as well. Shapiro's frenetic early work seems to have segued into something a little more deceptively clear though not really so ("I am language"), filtered as it is through Whitmanesque catalogs and employing odd juxtapositions which are not surrealist, not capitalism-swallowed-my-syntax, but something more interesting and playful, oddly childlike and libidinous at the same time. Someone said he has no affect? On the contrary, I think the various conflicting layers of affect here are fascinating. An original intellect, friend to painters, and stubbornly individual. Would you leave this man out of your NY School anthology, as if we could possibly imagine that School without him...down with those ignoramus editors!
A brief story on the man: we were eating lunch in Cambridge before his reading for the Analogous Series last year, and Mr. Shapiro was evoking the old adage that one probably had to be crazy to be write well. I responded to this with a piece of would-be evidence: "Well, I happen to have Tourette's..." A medium-length silence ensued. David squinted his eyes a bit and said slowly and cautiously, "Well, it's not that unusual... I mean, some people have guinea pigs... or maybe a gerbil..." Another medium-length silence settled -- then it occurred to me what had happened: he thought I had said "two rats" and was trying to be polite! (What is it with this kid who thinks it's weird to own two rats?)
I won't say more at the moment, except to point out that a "bare nostalgia for the higher orders" is sometimes not "as useless as a ski," but rather something glowing queerly, perhaps "half / concealing half / revealing a still / smoldering passion."