Natalie Shapero, '11: Poetry and Law

Professor Shapero reads ‘The Lone Acceptable Application of Daylight’ for lunchtime talk series

On April 10, the Aidekman Arts Center continued its event series for the semester and hosted Tufts Professor of the Practice Natalie Shapero. Currently teaching two courses on poetry at Tufts, Shapero has published multiple collections of poems. Her most recent book, “Hard Child” (2017), made the short list for the International Griffin Poetry Prize. Shapero has also had works published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine and the Boston Review.

Inside the Tufts University Art Gallery, Professor Natalie Shapero read a poem titled “The Lone Acceptable Application of Daylight” to an intimately small crowd at lunchtime. Surrounded by pieces of media such as collections of tweets or Facebook posts from Harry Dodge’s exhibit on display, she fittingly read a poem on ‘civil discourse on the internet.’

Shapero’s route to where she is today may seem unorthodox, but to her, it all fits together. As a high schooler, she first became interested in poetry through friends who were writing poetry, but in college she began to study it seriously.

In an interview with the Daily, Shapero explained that “taking poetry workshops in college is what really solidified it for [her] as something that [she has] a serious art practice around.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, Shapero immediately went on to the Ohio State University to receive her Master’s of Fine Arts. She then followed this up by earning a law degree from University of Chicago. Shapero then spent time as a lawyer working in establishment clause law for an organization called Americans United For Separation of Church and State in Washington, D.C.

Shapero shared her thoughts on the intersection between the seemingly disparate fields of  poetry and law.

“I think [poetry and law] are very related,” Shapero said. “I think that thinking about literature, you ask a lot of questions about language and ambiguity and degrees of universality, like what the possibilities [are] for multiple meanings in a single piece of text, and that inquiry in statutory construction is the same … I see a lot of resonances between both and been able in to keep a foot in both worlds.”

Read more at The Tufts Daily