Skip to content

Alan Shapiro’s recent collection, Old War, won the 2009 Ambassador Book Award. A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Shapiro is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Night of the Republic

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
2013 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

This extraordinary poetic sequence, Alan Shapiro’s eleventh book, is an attempt to enter and diagnose a pervasive emptiness at the heart of contemporary American life.

This extraordinary poetic sequence, Alan Shapiro’s eleventh book, is an attempt to enter and diagnose a pervasive emptiness at the heart of contemporary American life. Shapiro’s unwavering gaze fixes on vacant public spaces at night — parking garage, car lot, park bench, gas station men’s room — and finds in those absences a way to read the marks of human presence, the scuffs and scars and damages that reveal the vulnerability that lies beneath our ambition, our hurry and our disregard. These meditative, syntactically supple lyrics bring a new level of abstraction and of sophistication to this poet’s work, marking a maturation of an already accomplished style that makes him a poet commensurate with the strange, aching, exhilarating spaces of modernity.