Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Alois J. Schieber


The case of Karl Jay Shapiro's poetry is a quixotic one. Practically no criticism of his poetry has yet struck anything like a balance, for the variety of his literary works precludes a tempered climate. He has been condemned for crudeness and violence in his poetry, for lack of lyrical gift and sense of significant rhythm, for inability to invest what he sees with meaning, and for failure to resolve his poems. On the other hand, he has been exalted for a superb command of the poetic art. "He keeps on the subject. And that's rare," says William Carlos Williams. And Stephen Spender says , "He is a poet of rare intellectual strength. He has an exceptional power of being able to think of a poem as a single idea." Horace Gregory sums up a common feeling for Karl Shapiro when he says, "Mr. Shapiro's skill in writing has one cardinal merit; his verses are seldom dull; they are easy to read, and not unlike MacNeice's lines, they create an atmosphere that can be cheerfully described as 'swimming or 'swearing'.