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Night of the Republic Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; First Edition edition (January 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547329709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547329703
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,051 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In his twelfth collection of poetry, Shapiro, who holds an endowed chair at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is concerned with phenomena and places. He finds the most generic location and douses for its most evocative associations. A gas station restroom at night, for example, has a stink and anonymity that seem to evoke the general unease of road tripping. An empty strip club during the day holds the presence of its lonely strippers and their lonelier clientele, inching their chairs too close to the stage and the women’s nudity. “Stone Church,” “Hospital Examination Room,” “Indoor Municipal Pool”—all receive this schematic treatment. Old buildings are “embarrassed” by their modernist neighbors, “by how nakedly / outside / outside is here.” Here the line breaks add emphasis to a resonant idea, the sense amplified by the sounds. In the last third of the book, Shapiro uses a similar approach, formally and aesthetically, to visions from his childhood. Readers might take comfort in Shapiro’s visions. The poet is also debuting as a novelist this month with Broadway Baby (2012). --Michael Autrey

About the Author

Alan Shapiro is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the author of nine acclaimed books of poetry. He is a former recipient of the Kingsley Tufts Award and the Los Angeles Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was recently elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Light from gas, so like Genesis, so cosmic.
Aceto
One of the best things about Shapiro's work is that is very accessible as well as engaging.
Kim L
To be frank it took me three readings to really understand it.
Richard C. Geschke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By choiceweb0pen0 VINE VOICE on March 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Alan Shapiro's Night of the Republic. In the first few sections, the books goes through some unnamed small town. He uses a great deal of repetition built on sparse language shaped from careful observation. This universality can sometimes give this part of the collection a blandness in trying to use a minimal amount of concrete words.

The town in Night of the Republic could be any small town. "Dry Cleaner" could be about any dry cleaner:

Inside the giant room
the air is like the air inside
the smallest closet,
stuffed full and locked.

The personification of the plastic is a little expected: "The plastic wears the clothes/ that wear no bodies" I think of Mathew Harvey's "Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form" but then the poem manages to take a creepy and then a surprising turn, "that hangs from the inverted roller/ coaster of the conveyer/ that conveys them nowhere now"

It's these surprises that made me want to keep reading. One of the rare people in these town poems is in "Supermarket" though her presence is minimal:

The one cashier is dozing -
head nodding, slack mouth open,
above the cover girl spread out before her on the counter

then the poem moves to register tape and scanner, it moves to

Registers of feeling too precise
too intricate to feel
except in the disintegrating
traces of a dream--

the play on the word registers is appropriate here, but then the poem seems to get caught up in vocabulary and wordplay fireworks: "panopticon of cameras/ cutting in timed procession/ from aisle to aisle.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Glynn Young VINE VOICE on December 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In "Night of the Republic: Poems," poet Alan Shapiro loads his minds-eye camera with film (or, these days, a disk) and takes a series of detailed, rather stark photographs. His subjects are the common, everyday things we notice only when we need them but generally ignore: a car dealership, a gas station restroom, a park bench, a dry cleaner, a swimming pool, a museum, a doorbell, a funeral home.

Shapiro's poetic photographs are sharp and clear; we're not left guessing the subject. But they often lead in an unexpected direction, as common, everyday things can do. Consider "Barbershop," which becomes a meditation on eternity:

Eternity is the spiral up the poles
spiraling to its endless end.
Time is the vitrine
of antiquated gels,
conditioners, restoratives,
stray sections from yesterday's Today
all over the table
in the waiting area where
Eternity is waiting...

These are poems to be read two and three times, and then two or three times more, like photographs that need to be reexamined to see how new angles or shades or colors can change the created whole. In "Stone Church," for example, the emphasis on the stone construction gives way to what happens inside:

...At night, high
over the tiny
galaxy of candles
guttering down
in dark chapels
all along the nave,
there's greater
gravity inside
the grace that's risen
highest into rib
vaults and flying
buttresses, where
each stone is another
stone's resistance to
the heaven far
beneath it...

These photograph-like poems, or poetic photographs, are filled with quiet wonder. And like fine photographs, their meanings can keep changing.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By B. Niedt on December 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The cover is a giveaway of what to expect from Alan Shapiro's latest book of poetry: a stark night photograph of a gas station plaza reminiscent of an Edward Hopper painting. Two of the four sections of this collection are devoid of humans (except the narrator of course), and are powerful set pieces of various buildings and locations late at night, after all the people have gone home to sleep. Yet there's still "life" to these places: blinking lights, a twirling barber pole, dust motes in the air - as these settings become characters in their own right. Stores, a church, a playground, an indoor pool, a government office building - they are all subjects of these poems, which often invoke an unsettling but stark beauty.
One of the most effective is "Public", in which the narrator observes a public housing apartment building with the blue glow of a TV in one window, and a sheet of newspaper blown up against the fence

...like a
fugitive the dogs
are closing in on,
wanting in, wanting
for God's sake someone
to take him in, as if
the sole blue light
above were safety[...]
it is news
calling out to news
as pixel to print
to pixel over circuits
and atonal airways
that someone earlier
left on before leaving
to make it seem
as if someone were home.

As if to relieve this urban desolation, Shapiro populates the second section with human subjects, like a homeless man, a customer in a Quik-Mart, a man at a urinal, a demented hospital patient. The last section is a moving cycle of poems that focuses on objects that conjure up the narrator's childhood, and what I interpret as the loss of his mother.
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