Life Descending/Ascending is a significant work of lyrical, cerebral poetry that reveals seven universal experiences in life, from crime, politics and death to nature, ephemera, creativity, and love.
From a clandestine attempt at theft to a final acceptance of life's convoluted and challenging path, in a burst of "Song," Life: Descending / Ascending covers much ground with thistle and wildflowers. Shapiro's second collection of poems is a rare volume that is both celebratory and somberly thought-provoking. It takes a poet, painter or musician to point out the minutiae of details in our human experience, those impressions that most strongly influence us, even in our unawareness of them. Shapiro's poems, in an esoteric but accessible fashion, are signals, symbols, hints at who we really are in this life.
"In this new volume of poems, Alice Shapiro finds countless ways to show us how we live now. She transforms the present moment into vivid art, blends down-to-earth voices with a poet's sense of sound deftly, and meets the challenge of writing originally about big subjects like politics, death, disease, loneliness, and love. In Crime, Shapiro is guilty of great writing, and her poetry descends into life itself and ascends into rare achievement."
--Hans Ostrom, author of The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006
Alice Shapiro's far-reaching second collection of poems, Crime, investigates the lesson that "has no end" and seeks-out philosophical clues that make up our lives during a time of war: an ink-black ocean, paisley dress, chocolate, a door ajar, cup of joe... Where "arguments / lose their salt" fact becomes the closed spaces in a "mind exiled from its mental country" because, as the speaker says, "your truth is my oblivion". Seen from "the pit of a heart" and "heard within our own adventure," Crime journeys forward trying to solve the endless, personal mystery of another day on Earth. Listen: the breath, the yelp, the distant roar, "the future?"
--Elena Karina Byrne
"I can feel the shiver / of love" in these poems.
--Mary Harwell Sayler
ALICE SHAPIRO's first collection of poems, CRACKED Timeless Topics of Nature, Courage and Endurance, was published by TotalRecall Press (2009) with a preface by Suffolk L.I. Poet Laureate David Axelrod, and was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize and a GAYA Award (Georgia Author of the Year). Her second collection, LIFE Descending / Ascending published by TotalRecall Press (2010) and a third volume in 2011. She is author of a chapbook, Seasons of the Heart published by Scars Publications (2007).
Shapiro is also winner of the Bill C. Davis Drama Award for a one-act verse play (Four Voices) that was produced in New York. It will again be produced by StageWorks, Virginia in 2010. She was judge for Poetry Out Loud 2010 at the regional level.
INTERVIEW WITH ALICE SHAPIRO
Q: Explain your passion for poetry.
A: Writing poetry is a fulfilling activity, like work. With the barest essentials - a pen and paper - I can create a dream world that is stimulating, exciting, sometimes dangerous, always nurturing, and filled with a sense of unconditional love. Poetry is a gift from God that I may share with others.
Q: What's the theme that runs through your work?
A: It is cerebral stuff, touching on how people respond to their senses, to situations, beauty, and themselves. The thoughts and actions that drive us and make us all human.
Q: You were nominated last year for two prestigious awards (Pushcart Prize and Georgia Author of the Year). What were your thoughts on being as an emerging voice in poetry?
A: I think it is lovely to receive awards, a boost for self-esteem, and a little light shining on the work so that other people may see it.