Review of Lauren Shapiro’s book “Easy Math”

Like the work of her mentors, James Tate and Dean Young, Shapiro’s poetry is meant to be experienced rather than understood. Speaking to the editors of Jubilat, Dean Young remarked that “to tie meaning too closely to understanding misses the point.” Shapiro’s writing is often untied, yet vivid in its sharp descriptions and loopy wit. There’s a crazy pleasure in following these wild associations where humor remains one of the more tangible rewards. In “Nothing Is More Beautiful When You Try to Make It that Way, Joan Rivers,” we learn that aging celebrities are negotiating to sell a sex tape of “their famous bodies / grinding into each other like hard candy.” Then we hear “you’re not supposed to eat / rock candy, just look through it to see / how pink and crystalized the world becomes.”

Read the full review in the Harvard Review.

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