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David Shapiro papers

Call Number: YCAL MSS 1422

Content Description

The David Shapiro Papers consists of correspondence, writings, chronological files, personal and professional papers, digital files, and audiovisual materials by or relating to David Shapiro. Correspondence documents his collaborations and friendships with other writers, poets, critics, and artists in the United States and abroad. Correspondents include John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Harold Bloom, Joseph Ceravolo, John Ciardi, Arthur A. Cohen, Peter Cole, Tory Dent, Allen Ginsberg, Michal Govrin, Barbara Guest, Donald Hall, John Hejduk, Richard Hell, Jasper Johns, Roman Jakobson, Kenneth Koch, Ann Lauterbach, David Lehman, Frank Lima, Joyce Carol Oates, Frank O’Hara, Ron Padgett, Anne Porter, Fairfield Porter, and Meyer Schapiro. Writings consist of poetry, art and literary criticism, exhibition catalog essays, articles, translations, reviews, and other works by Shapiro, including books on John Ashbery, Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, and Piet Mondrian, and translations of Sonia and Robert Delaunay, and Jacques Dupin. Chronological files contain a mix of correspondence, writings, and other materials organized by year. Personal and professional papers include Shapiro’s sticker collages and other artwork, photographs, collected correspondence, and teaching files. Also present in the collection are poetry, prose, and essays by other writers such as Joe Brainard.


  • circa 1950s-2017


Language of Materials

In English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Box 42 (student records): Restricted until 2077. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Box 50 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies of electronic files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Box 51 (audiovisual materials): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The David Shapiro Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from James S. Jaffe on the Edwin J. Beinecke Book Fund, 2019.


Organized into five series: I. Correspondence, 1957-2017. II. Writings, 1957-2017. III. Chronological Files, circa 1983-2011. IV. Personal and Professional Papers, circa 1950s-2016. V. Computer and Audiovisual Media, 1974-1992.


46 Linear Feet ((50 boxes) + 1 broadside)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL

David Shapiro (1947-)

David Shapiro is an American poet, writer, art critic and historian, literary critic, editor, and educator associated with the second generation of the New York School of poetry. He has published over twenty-five books of poetry, art criticism, literary criticism, and works of translation, including An Anthology of New York Poets (1970), co-edited with Ron Padgett. He was born on January 2, 1947 in Newark, New Jersey and was raised there. He spent his summers in Deal, New Jersey. His grandfather was Jewish cantor and composer Berele Chagy. Shapiro studied the violin from an early age, performing professionally with orchestras as a teenager. He attended Columbia University, where he was a student of Kenneth Koch and Meyer Schapiro, and participated in the 1968 student protests. After graduating with a B.A. in English in 1968, Shapiro earned an M.A. in English literature and Greek tragedy from Cambridge University in 1970, and a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia in 1973.

Shapiro began writing poetry when he was nine years old and published his first poetry collection, January: A Book of Poems (1965), at age eighteen. His other poetry volumes include The Page-Turner (1973), After a Lost Original (1994), and New and Selected Poems, 1965–2006 (2007). His poems have been anthologized in several editions of The Best American Poetry, and featured in publications such as The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, and Poetry. Shapiro’s work as an art critic includes reviews for Art News and The New Yorker, and books on Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, and Piet Mondrian. As a literary critic, he published the first book-length study of John Ashbery’s poetry in 1979. His awards include the 1962 Gotham Book Mart Avant-Garde Poetry Award and the 1977 American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Morton Dauwen Zabel Award. He was also a National Book Award Finalist for A Man Holding an Acoustic Panel (1971).

From 1991 to 2016, Shapiro was professor of art at William Paterson University, where he began teaching art history in 1985. He also taught English at Columbia University from 1972 to 1981, poetry and literature at the Cooper Union School of Architecture, and visual arts at Princeton University.

In 1970 Shapiro married architect Lindsay Stamm Shapiro. The couple have one son, Daniel, who is also a published poet. Shapiro has lived in Riverdale, New York since the 1970s.

Separated Materials

Printed material received with the collection was removed for separate cataloging and can be accessed by searching the library’s online catalog.

Processing Information

Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.

This collection received a basic level of processing, including rehousing and minimal organization.

Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Unusual or non-descriptive titles provided by creator have been retained. Titles have not been verified against the contents of the folders in all cases. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing. Information in brackets is also supplied by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the David Shapiro Papers
by Nora Soto
December 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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Opening Hours

Access Information

The Beinecke Library is open to all Yale University students and faculty, and visiting researchers whose work requires use of its special collections. You will need to bring appropriate photo ID the first time you register. Beinecke is a non-circulating, closed stack library. Paging is done by library staff during business hours. You can request collection material online at least two business days in advance of your visit, using the request links in Archives at Yale. For more information, please see Planning Your Research Visit and consult the Reading Room Policies prior to visiting the library.