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In Memory of David Shapiro (1947-2024)

May 8, 2024

This photo shows the amazing reading by David Shapiro at the July 2, 2018 opening of sculptor Richard Nona’s project Where None*.

Born January 2, 1947, poet David Shapiro died May 5, 2024 at 77 years old. He wrote over 20 volumes of poetry. He was an art critic, violinist and an amazingly inspired teacher working beside John Hejduk at Cooper Union for over 10 years. David and John were neighbors in Riverdale, NY and best of friends. David’s poetry is architecture as John’s architecture is poetry.

Here is a poem from David’s ‘T’ Space reading on July 2, 2018:

Two Ways
There are two ways of writing on the earth: With an ending or without an end. If with an end try not to end with oceans. Without an ending is a poet’s delight.
You don’t carry a sink while walking in the street, do you? Fly past me on a lane that doesn’t exist! I saw John Dewey waffling through the night. He said that poetry was not “about.”
It was a starless night—no, there was a star. Some say it’s mold, carve, assemble, or sign.
No volcano is inactive completely, friends say. And there’s the critic with a handle for a pot.
And the young title rising to the roof. What made you think…that love was all “about.” And worse: it doesn’t mean about “about.” There are two ways of loving on the earth:
I failed to look far out or deeply in. You are either one who has lost everything Or who is going to lose everything. I saw books roiling in the night like laundry.
It was a new library without a book. Splitters or lumpers: Now you know what I am.
—David Shapiro

Listen to a recording of David’s reading here.

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