Child with a Swan’s Wings by Daniel Shapiro


“Welcome to the marvelous world of Daniel Shapiro; a poet to whom nothing in creation is strange, and everything is surprising; who can shape-shift with rare skill and grace, from the deep-state minds of animals, mermen and dream children to the wise guide sent to remind us of the terror and joy of becoming fully human. This is a gorgeous gathering of poems.” —Lorna Goodison, Poet Laureate of Jamaica, author of Collected Poems


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 108
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: April, 2018
  • ISBN: 978-1-939929-95-2


“Shapiro’s poetry has authority, unaffected confidence, and surprising humor. His ego disappears into lively observation and wit informed by imagination. The rich images often delight, from the first poem with its “triangle swallowing a circle and a square eating its lines,” to the title poem, much later on, ‘Child with a Swan’s Wings.’ While many poems collected here also contain disturbing elements, most impressive and moving is this poetry’s human sympathy.” —Barry Wallenstein, author of Drastic Dislocations: New and Selected Poems

“The language of Child with a Swan’s Wings by Daniel Shapiro is downright sumptuous, the poems by turns joyful (‘In the Field Between Us’), pensive, erudite, musical (‘Rhymes’), sensual (‘with these eyes, these ears, / these noses, these tongues, these hands’), visually playful, tender, ironic, devotional (‘Ode to Jan Morris’), and altogether remarkable. The title poem is quite simply a virtuoso accomplishment, Shapiro’s assured craftsmanship the safety net beneath the bravura. A fully realized companion to his earlier Woman at the Cusp of Twilight, Child with a Swan’s Wings is a must-be-read-aloud delight.” —Maxine Silverman, author of Shiva Moon and Palimpsest


Red Tooth Pulled from Some Building
for Patricia MacInnes

I found a brick in the street.
Lone chipped block. Red tooth
pulled from some building.
I circled it three times, slowly.
I ran my finger along its six sides.
I tapped where I thought the door would be.

I took it home and set it on the couch.
I told it I was alone in this city,
how at night I hear the clop
of shoes on concrete, leaves
falling off the bottlebrush tree.

The brick remained silent.
Motionless, but thinking perhaps,
like a watch that holds its breath.

If it could speak, it might tell me
of bricks hitching rides
through taxi windows, Brick
the great building stone of eastern cities,
bricks lined up like headstones
and the rain through time
cracking them like square eggs.

I would lift each half to my ear,
the coarse rock freed from its skin
and hear the breathing. Or
discover through a hole
that the brick was a tiny accordion
trapped inside a brick and that
because of the lack of air,
its music was reduced to a wheeze.

About then I decided to open it,
went for a chisel, softly humming a polka.


Daniel Shapiro

Photo by Elsa Ruiz

Daniel Shapiro is the author of two previous poetry collections from Dos Madres Press, The Red Handkerchief and Other Poems (2014) and Woman at the Cusp of Twilight (2016). He is the translator of Cipango, by Chilean poet Tomás Harris (Bucknell University Press, 2010), which received a starred review in Library Journal; and of Missing Persons, Animals, and Artists, by Mexican author Roberto Ransom (Swan Isle Press, 2017). His poems, prose, and translations have been published in various journals and anthologies. He has been awarded translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and PEN. Shapiro is a Distinguished Lecturer in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages & Literatures at The City College of New York, CUNY, where he serves as Editor of Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas.

Additional information

Weight 9 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .5 in