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Shapiro Alan Exum portrait NC Gallery
Alan Shapiro (photo by Steve Exum)

Reel to Reel, a book of poems by Alan Shapiro, Kenan Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing in the College of Arts and Sciences, was a 2015 finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

Shapiro has been teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill since 1995.

The Pulitzer web site describes the book, published by The University of Chicago Press, as “finely crafted poems with a composure that cannot conceal the troubled terrain they traverse.”

Reel to Reel moves outward from the intimate spaces of family and romantic life to embrace not only the human realm of politics and culture but also the natural world, and even the outer spaces of the cosmos itself.

David Orr of The New York Times wrote: “Shapiro is a master of the middle tone (as well as most of the formal techniques in poetry’s capacious toolbox), and he probes the deeper places of the self with a skilled psychologist’s gentle persistence. A delicately disquieting collection.”

Last October, Shapiro won the North Carolina Award for Literature, the highest civilian honor in the state.

Reel to ReelBorn and raised in Boston, Shapiro is the author of 12 books of poetry (including Night of the Republic, a finalist for both the National Book Award and The Griffin Prize); two memoirs (Vigil and The Last Happy Occasion, which was a finalist for the National Book Circle Critics Award in autobiography); a novel (Broadway Baby); and a book of critical essays and two translations.

Shapiro’s poems have appeared in more than 40 journals and magazines, including The New Yorker. He has received the highest prize for a North Carolina poet, the Roanoke-Chowan Award, twice. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and other awards from the Los Angeles Times, the Folger Shakespeare Library, Wellesley College and the Poetry Society of America.

Read the poem, “Reel to Reel,” published in The New Yorker.

Read more about Shapiro. Read more about the Pulitzer winners and finalists.

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