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"ISRAEL" A Handwritten 1948 Poem By Pulitzer Prize Winner Karl Shapiro

KARL SHAPIRO, (1913"2000) was an American poet and critic, whose "V-Letter and Other Poems" was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1945.

Original, Autograph Manuscript Poem, Signed "Karl Shapiro", entitled "Israel", consisting of 5 stanzas of 6 lines each, 1 page, 11.5" x 9", dated in another hand at the bottom of the page May 15, 1948, Mint. This original, handwritten poem is housed in a custom-made, dark blue, slipcase, with imitation half leather spine, which is labeled in gold. The first stanza of the poem (which in its 1948 context refers to the State of Israel in regard to "the Liberation of Palestine") reads:

"When I think of the liberation of Palestine

When my eye conceives the great black English line

Spanning the world news of two thousand years

My heart leaps forward like a hungry dog

My heart is thrown back on its tangled chain

My soul is hangdog in a Western chair...."

This is an impressive piece of American Literature and Judaica, and probably unique.

Additional Information:

Shapiro's early volumes of verse, "Person, Place, and Thing" (1942), "Place of Love" (1943) and "V-Letter and Other Poems" (1944), were written while he was a soldier in World War II and contain much of his best-known work. Later volumes included "Trial of a Poet" (1947), "Poems of a Jew" (1958), "Adult Bookstore" (1976), "Collected Poems, 1940"1977" (1978), and "Poet: Volume One: The Younger Son" (1988). His critical essays were published in such volumes as "Essay on Rime" (in verse, 1945), "In Defense of Ignorance" (1960), "The Bourgeois Poet" (1964), "To Abolish Children and Other Essays" (1968), and "The Poetry Wreck" (1975). His only novel, "Edsel", appeared in 1971. Shapiro also edited Poetry magazine (1948"50).
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