In his sixth book of poems, Alan Shapiro once again shows that he is a master at articulating the secrets of the heart. "The Dead Alive and Busy" deals with issues of personal identity as revealed through examining the intimate bonds of family life. The poems explore these familial relations in terms of the religious, social and literary contexts that inform them, delving into such universal themes as human frailty, illness and death, bereavement and thwarted desires. By turns lyrical and narrative, slangy and elevated, analytical and visionary, this collection showcases one of America's most important poets in his top form.
Alan Shapiro teaches poetry and creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of a collection of essays, "In Praise of the Impure: Poetry and the Ethical Imagination" (1993), and four previous books of poetry, including the award-winning "Happy Hour" (1987).