Lauren Shapiro received a BA in Comparative Literature from Brown University and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is a former associate acquiring editor at the Yale University Press and has translated poetry from Spanish, Italian, Vietnamese, and Arabic into English. Her poems have been published in such journals as Pool, Passages North, 32 Poems, Forklift Ohio, Drunken Boat, notnostrums, and Thermos. She is a curator of the Monsters of Poetry Reading Series and an assistant editor at Rescue Press. She lives in Hartford, Connecticut.
Selected by Marie Howe for the 2011 Kathryn A. Morton Prize, Easy Math is anxious and exuberant both. Lauren Shapiro’s poems are Aesop stood on end, wry fables that defy our instinct to find a moral to the story. Instead, she offers us a gimlet eye to the disappointments of the world, tall tale-telling by turns rickety, defiant, and brave. “There are an infinite number of ways to torture the soul with hopefulness” Shapiro says, so we settle for ways to survive—crooked grins, twisted logic, and equations of jello shots, amusement parks, and post-it notes that never add up. “Everyone has something to say / about love and impermanence and waste.” She says it better than most.
"Lauren Shapiro can downshift from the sublime to the profane and back again in less than 5 seconds. She can glimpse the mystery of what we might call the big picture, and then narrow her eyes to the quotidian sorrows—this capacity holds a worldview that is radically crisp and compassionate. Energy and joy create these metaphors, and if they are in discourse with postmodern malaise, they almost win the argument."
"Full of vim and vinegar, these poems push our faces into their marvelous bouquets. Constantly refreshed with alarming strangeness, Easy Math veers between irked humor and world-weary awe. Remember when we all got out of school for the fire alarm? This is even better."
"Lauren Shapiro writes a smart, funny, richly inhabited poetry of the here and now. May it soon be everywhere and always."