Ali Shapiro

There are thousands of pages full of writers telling stories about writers. The list of people who can do it well is much shorter. One of my favorite examples is the Galway Kinnell poem, “Oatmeal.” Breakfast gets lonely and Galway invites a few imaginary friends to share the meal.

Ali Shapiro - July 2011

Here is another author who brings new life (and death) to this point of view. Ali Shapiro has a poem online at titled, “FIRST DAY FARMING.” The first line wastes no time before wading directly into the action.

“Is this why I’m slaughtering these chickens…”

The poem continues with competition between two writers for all the best descriptions, and comes to life with the shared experiences.

“…disgusting and numinous and ridiculous all at once, it was you I would call first, to bring you closer?”

Ali Shapiro is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Michigan. She’s won a number of awards for her writing and other exploits, including two Dorothy Sargeant Rosenberg Poetry Prizes and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in RATTLE, Redivider, Linebreak, and the Southeast Review. She also publishes literary reviews in MAKE magazine.

I also need to say thank you to David Harris Ebenbach for introducing me to this writer’s fine work.


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