The poems of Natalie Shapero’s third collection, Popular Longing, highlight the ever-increasing absurdity of our contemporary life. With her sharp, sardonic wit, Shapero deftly captures human meekness in all its forms: our senseless wars, our inflated egos, our constant deference to presumed higher powers—be they romantic partners, employers, institutions, or gods. “Why even / look up, when all we’ll see is people / looking down?” In a world where everyone has to answer to someone, it seems no one is equipped to disrupt the status quo, and how the most urgent topics of conversation can only be approached through refraction. By scrutinizing the mundane and all that is taken for granted, these poems arrive at much wider vistas, commenting on human sadness, memory, and mortality. Punchy, fearlessly ironic, and wickedly funny, Popular Longing articulates what it means to share a planet, for better or more often for worse, with other people.
“Natalie Shapero is the poet I’d most like to have at a dinner party, and Popular Longing is a perfect example of why. Her sharp observations of human weirdness are just unparalleled. Popular Longing is cutting, clever, and a criticism of modern culture. Shapero knows no bounds here, and it makes for a remarkable read.” —Electric Lit
“Here the oddities of our very human lives are keenly observed in bright lyric perfection… Shapero’s insights are bold, metaphysical, and serpentine… 'Don’t Spend It All in One Place,' the book’s longest poem, is a masterful romp through Shapero’s quick-witted and asymmetrical mode of thinking. It’s funny and serious all at once, like so much of our lives.”—Booklist
“In Popular Longing, Griffin Prize shortlistee Natalie Shapero confronts life’s absurdities with decided brio.”—Library Journal