The Wartime Success of Karl Shapiro's V-Letter

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The American soldier-poet Karl Shapiro won the Pulitzer Prize for V-Letter and Other Poems (1944), making him an instant celebrity. The volume was written while he was stationed in Australia and New Guinea during World War II. Shaprio sent the completed poems to his fiancée, Evalyn Katz, who edited them, sent them to magazines, and subsequently compiled them for V-Letter. Drawing on unpublished letters between Karl Shapiro and Evalyn Katz and personal interviews with Katz, this essay explores the genesis and unusual success of this volume. What was Katz' editorial contribution to the poems and how was the arrangement of poems for V-Letter made? Was the success based on the quality of the poems, their accessibility and topicality, or perhaps the air of romance and patriotism that clung to Shapiro and Katz as viewed from the homefront? © Springer 2006.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)445-462
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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