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Stupid Hope: Poems Paperback – August 4, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


A wonderful strange humor and deep wisdom--what we need. (Allen Ginsberg on Jason Shinder)

Jason Shinder's second book of poems, the lovely and tortuous Among Women, forges a new place in the tradition of the journeying soul. Shinder . . . possesses a subtle, idiosyncratic, and revolutionary voice. (Provincetown Arts)

About the Author

Jason Shinder (1955-2008) was the author of two previous poetry collections and the editor of The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later. He directed the YMCA National Writer's Voice and taught at the Writing Seminars at Bennington College.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 88 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press; Original edition (August 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155597533X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555975333
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. O. Aptowicz on August 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Reflecting on the human anatomical specimens found at her museum, late Mutter Museum director Gretchen Worden once wrote, "While these bodies may be ugly, there is a terrifying beauty in the spirits of those forced to endure these afflictions."

I was reminded of this quote while I was reading Jason Shinder's terrifyingly beautiful book, "Stupid Hope." The book is steeped within two profound deaths: the death of poet's mother and death (from leukemia) of the poet himself (the book is being published posthumously with the aid of Tony Hoagland, Marie Howe, Lucie Brock-Broido and Sophie Cabot Black).

Strung between these two horrible events, Shinder writes a book unwavering in its desire to really examine life and death, and all the love & loneliness & friendship & regret & hope that can be found in them. Shinder's precise language and imagery is one of his sharpest tools, with lines like "The cold foreheads of apples graze the ground with nothing on but their torn green jackets" lingering in your mind for days afterwards.

But it's the sum total of the book which set it apart. Stripping down his life and his language until he is at his most pure, most unflinching, Shinder remains Shinder straight to the end: cherishing his friends, craving being alone while fearing loneliness, translating it all with clear eyes and a steady voice.

Considering the subject matter and the circumstances surrounding the book, I imagine people will assume it is a dark book. While there is darkness, there is also light, and the complex interaction between the two is what makes this book so remarkable... and what makes the early death of Shinder such a tragedy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John Michael Albert on September 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read a poem selected from this volume on Poetry Daily and was moved enough by the craft and focus of that one poem to buy the book. Great investment. Every poem is sharp, drew me in. None came across as the result of a classroom prompt, an exercise of the "...and I can do this, too" variety. And the cumulative effect is tremendous. Literally. "Causing one to tremble." Thanks to the collective efforts of his four executors (Sophie Cabot Black, Lucie Brock-Broido, Tony Hoagland and Marie Howe) the narrative moves with the inevitability of a good drama. But the catharsis is not part of the text. Or maybe it is: the text ends, the poet ends. All that aside, here is a poet to whom "nothing is ordinary." Everything is fodder for poetic reflection. That and the surprise image. The reader is never allowed to become complacent. It's too facile to imagine such strong poetry comes from the poet's certainty that he would die soon. But I don't think that's what's going on. I think it comes from the poet's commitment to his craft. Besides, we all know we're going to die; it doesn't make us all strong poets of Jason Shinder's ilk.
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