Woman at the Cusp of Twilight by Daniel Shapiro


Woman at the Cusp of Twilight draws on photographs, anecdotes, letters and other documents to weave a unique portrait of the author’s maternal family from the early 20th century to the present, one reminiscent of Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology yet wholly its own. Moving snapshots cast in verse capture glimpses of family members in various settings over time—his grandmother traveling to California at the dawn of Hollywood, his great-aunt dancing the Charleston in her high-school auditorium, his grandfather’s dream of breeding a black rose during the Depression, and his mother’s adventures as a teenager at Coney Island after the War. The collection touches on figures including Fred Astaire, Isadora Duncan, George Gershwin, Martha Graham, and FDR; and on historical moments spanning from the Great War to the 1960s. Concrete poems shaped like a parachute, a sailboat, a topiary shrub, even a champagne flute, will intrigue and delight the reader. Woman at the Cusp of Twilight is at once a personal testament on the life of the imagination and a meditation on history, on “what is past, and passing, and to come.”


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 112
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: September 2016
  • ISBN: 978-1-939929-62-4


Statues and Spirits
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Three Shades
I wasn’t fooled
by the three male figures
reaching down
as if pulled by gravity
toward Hell.
Black and molten, muscles tensed
with the skin of death,
they didn’t fool me:
they were the shades
of my grandmother and her sisters
—Esther, Gertrude, and Schiffie—
classical beauties
who thickened over time,
their spirits mischievous as fire,
souls clear as water.
I wasn’t fooled
by the surfaces of things.
I knew they’d arrived
to visit their own,
disguised in a roof-garden,
posing as Rodin’s famous cast,
come to guide me
on that uncertain afternoon.


Daniel Shapiro

Photo by Elsa Ruiz

Daniel Shapiro received an M.F.A. from the University of Montana. His poems, prose, and translations have appeared in American Book Review, American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, BOMB, Brooklyn Rail, Confrontation, Poetry Northwest, Words Without Borders, and Yellow Silk. He is the author of The Red Handkerchief and Other Poems (Dos Madres Press, 2014) and the translator of Cipango, by Chilean poet Tomás Harris (2010; starred review, Library Journal). Shapiro has received translation fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and PEN for Cipango and for Mexican writer Roberto Ransom’s Desaparecidos, animales y artistas (Missing Persons, Animals and Artists, forthcoming, 2017). He lives in New York City, where he serves as a Distinguished Lecturer and Editor of Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas at The City College of New York, CUNY.

Additional information

Weight 9 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in