I had a chance to attend a book party celebrating the publication of two new poetry collections. The book launch for Woman at the Cusp of Twilight by Daniel Shapiro and Meteor Shower by Anne Whitehouse took place at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism late last year. Not only was I able to listen to the authors read from their newly published books, but I was also given signed copies of both collections. To say that I had a great time is truly an understatement.
There is nothing better than hearing a poem being recited by the actual poet. You get to hear the poem being read how the poet wrote it and I must say that listening to Daniel Shapiro read some of the poems transported me to another time. Some of the poems came to life for me while I attended this book launch, and I keep going back to one specific poem. The poem “A Lesson” is my favorite poem out of the whole collection for one specific reason: the strength and power shown. A lesson is indeed what is taught by this poem — we have the author’s mother walking to school and being harassed by the kids of the neighborhood. She is called “dirty Jew” and is even surrounded by a group of them. While she was taught to walk proudly past by her mother, this time it is to no avail because they knock her books out of her hand and pull at her skirt. Instead of retreating, she takes all of them on, one by one; she then picks up her books, and continues to walk proudly past. It all comes back in full circle. Not only do the kids learn a very important lesson, but we as readers learn that it takes great strength and courage to stand up for yourself. I felt like a captivated audience member, but near the middle of the poem I saw myself looking at this poor girl from across the street being picked on and not having the power to help her. The way this poem was written and read truly transported me to that time.
Daniel Shapiro is a poet whose poems, and translations have appeared in American Poetry Review, BOMB, Words Without Borders, and Yellow Silk, among many other publications. He is also the author of The Red Handkerchief and Other Poems (Dos Madres Press, 2014) and the translator of Cipango, by Chilean poet Tomás Harris (2010, Library Journal). Located in New York City, he serves as a Distinguished Lecturer and Editor of Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas at The City College of New York, CUNY.
Daniel Shapiro has given us insight into the first four generations in the U.S. of his maternal side. Woman at the Cusp of Twilight draws on stories, pictures, and memories from those living and those who are no longer with us. This second collection of poetry from Daniel Shapiro is an emotional and nostalgic roller-coaster that that shows the strength, differences, needs, and growth of his maternal family. To get your copy of Daniel Shapiro’s latest poetry collection, visit the Dos Madres website. You can also reach the author through Twitter.
Twisted Talk: Will you be getting a copy of Woman at the Cusp of Twilight by Daniel Shapiro? What do you think about the book and the concept of it? Discuss below!