Unbound Edition Press today announced it has signed poet Alex Wells Shapiro for his debut collection of poetry, Feralizing: An Age Coming in Five Acts. It has a planned publication date of May 2022.
The collection, remarkable for its unflinching, frank view of pressing social issues, contemplates the meaning of mixed or colliding identities within the confines of a city. “Dense populations complicate the boundaries between personal spaces, between an individual and unity,” Shapiro says. “These sorts of diverse, packed spaces have provided the few times I’ve felt wholly a part of a community as a mixed-race person, rather than being pushed to the edge or made to straddle borders.”
Shapiro’s urban environments and relationships focus on everyday details – “gum wad loose foil and rock” – that provide the familiar comforts of belonging. Often experimental yet always accessible, his poems plainly present the tangible, specific moments of city life without erasing their emotional and symbolic depth. Meaning, for Shapiro, is found on the streets, underfoot, as the body moves through crowded spaces.
Within these contemporary concrete mazes, Shapiro explores issues of fragmenting cultures and lifestyles, immense economic inequity, perpetual digital interactions, and rapidly escalating environmental crisis. The poems analyze, physicalize and personify widespread cultural and personal anxieties in especially stark terms. In his city, the hum of “Buzzing means you are not alone.”
“The moment I read the collection, I knew Alex was bringing a strikingly clear voice to the most important subjects of our time,” says Patrick Davis, publisher at Unbound Edition Press. “His poems are urgent work signaling the alarm and trying to hold back the crumbling of life evident to so many of us.”
Alex Wells Shapiro (he/him) is a poet and artist from the Hudson Valley, living in Chicago. He reads submissions for Another Chicago Magazine and Frontier Poetry, and is a co-founder of Exhibit B: A Reading Series presented by The Guild Literary Complex. His work is recently published or forthcoming in Blood Tree Literature, Boudin, Pangyrus, and The Indianapolis Review. More of his work can be found at www.alexwellsshapiro.com.