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Book Title

Stupid Hope

Author 1
Jason Shinder
I close my eyes and try to remember
when I was unopposed, when I started to die,
buoyant, fragrant, shuddering with love.
—from “Before”

Jason Shinder’s last poems are his moving testimonies to poetry, love, and friendship. With power, clarity, and disarming humor, the poems confront grief and mortality with a humility and fortitude that come only “with hope, stupid hope.” Stupid Hope is Shinder’s wry, penetrating, and wise farewell.

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The final collection by the late Jason Shinder, “one of the finest of our new poets”—Gerald Stern


About the Author

Jason  Shinder
Credit: Brad Fowler

Jason Shinder was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1955. He was the founder and director of the YMCA National Writer's Voice, as well as the director of Sundance Institute's Writing Program. He taught in the graduate writing programs at Bennington College and the New School University.

He is the author of Among Women (Graywolf Press, 2001), Every Room We Ever Slept In (1993), a NY Public Library Notable Book, and the chapbook Uncertain Hours.

Shinder is also the editor of many anthologies, most recently: The Poem That Changed America: "Howl" Fifty Years Later (2006) and The Poem I Turn To: Actors and Directors Present Poetry That Inspires Them (2008).

His awards and fellowships include serving as Poet Laureate of Provincetown, MA, and a 2007 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He divided his time between Provincetown and New York City. Shinder died in April 2008.

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  • “Jason Shinder was a poet’s poet…[his work is] marvelously accessible and hits the reader at heart-level. It is sometimes raw, always daring, carefully constructed, deceptively casual in tone—somewhere between rabbinical parable and stand-up comedy. . . .  Shinder’s late work often reminds me of Keats. They share the same intensity of language, the same dedication to the image, the same surprising, eccentric, vibrant manipulations of language to bring the moment straight to us. The resulting imagery is enchanting and enchanted.”—The Hollins Critic
  • Stupid Hope is a generous, entertaining, and disturbing collection by a poet who left us all too soon. On full display is Shinder’s gift for confronting the truths of sex and sickness, lust, and the betrayal of the body from within—all part of a search for the path that will lead him out of loneliness and into love.”—Billy Collins
  • “Not so far from the end of his life, William Maxwell said that he was 'living with all the doors and windows open.' That seems an exact description of the situation of Stupid Hope, which is not only Jason Shinder’s best book but an indelible contribution to the literature of illness, of how it is  to stand on the edge of living. Somehow both shell-shocked and luminously clear, Shinder’s last poems startle, again and again, with their nakedness and clarity. They are both heartbreaking testaments and not about loss at all, but about being here, in this moment, entirely awake.”—Mark Doty
  • “[Stupid Hope is] Shinder’s best book—a third, final, and devastating collection about the poet’s discovery of his illness and what came after. . . . I can’t recall a book that addresses mortality with such brutal self-awareness, in such plain language, with such a complete lack of sentimentalism. The poems can be at once exuberant and despairing, all told in this causal rhetoric. . . . The poems can be difficult, even terrifying, but the book rewards reading from cover to cover.”—Harvard Review
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