Jane Shore Analysis

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

As a guest poetry editor of Ploughshares magazine, Jane Shore has written reviews and commentary for the magazine, bringing her keen perception and careful analysis to the articles and poems in each volume. Her discussion of Elizabeth Bishop’s use of metaphors in the Spring, 1979, issue is typical: “In a world full of mangoes, hurricanes, armchairs and muskrats, how does a poet choose just two things for an original and truthful comparison?” She examines several of Bishop’s poems from the perspective of another poet, addressing mechanics and depth of insight. In many ways, the study of Bishop’s life and works, because of its frequent morbidity, has allowed Shore to remain compassionate and thoughtful even when faced with difficult choices in her life.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Jane Shore won the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine in 1973. She was noted and praised for her poetic ability on the appearance of her first book of poetry in 1977: Eye-Level won the 1977 Juniper Prize. The Minute Hand was made a Lamont Poetry Selection in 1986 by the Academy of American Poets, and Music Minus One was a 1996 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. Shore was further honored with two National Endowment for the Arts grants and a variety of university fellowships. She accepted a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and was a fellow in poetry at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute (formerly the Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study), a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard University, an Alfred Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, a Goodyear Fellow at the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, a visiting distinguished poet at the University of Hawaii, and a Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Washington at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Boyers, Robert. “Jane Shore.” A Book of Common Praise. Keene, N.Y.: Ausable Press, 2002. Boyers has collected a series of short essays summarizing the themes and structures of Shore and twenty-four other writers. The essay on Shore provides an introduction to her works.

Ciavarra, Jaime. “Life, in Verse.” GWMagazine (Spring/Summer, 2009). Ciavarra suggests that Shore strives to create poems that are accessible to her readers and that provide ways to interpret and resolve life’s difficulties.

Goldensohn, Lorrie. “About Jane Shore: A Profile.” Ploughshares 23, no. 4 (Winter, 1997-1978): 209-213. Goldensohn relates early biographical information about her friend and fellow poet Shore and paints a picture of the young woman while Shore was attending Goddard College. Goldensohn shared meals and poetry readings with Shore, helping her find her voice in her poetry and in her life.

McFall, Gardner. “Toward a Visible Woman.” Review of Music Minus One. The New York Times Book Review, February 23, 1997, p. 16. McFall describes Shore’s Music Minus One as a strongly autobiographical work that uses material from her childhood in 1950’s New Jersey to the birth of her daughter, Emma, and her parents’ deaths. He details the volume as a series of thirty-one poems that shift perspective along the continuum of time and maturity, creating a history both personal and artistic.

Murphy, Bruce F. “Verse Versus Poetry.” Poetry 127, no. 3 (January, 2001): 279. In this review, Murphy describes the works of several poets, including Shore’s Happy Family. Although Shore’s title refers to a common dish served in Chinese restaurants, he finds a secondary and ironic meaning as well. Murphy says that Shore’s poems describe domestic scenes, meditating on childhood, aging, the disappointment of dreams, and how relationships further or blunt the energies of one’s life. Murphy examines Shore’s mechanics, placing her verse in the category of prose based on its rhythms and lack of rhyme.

Shore, Jane. “An Interview with Jane Shore.” Interview by Bonni Goldberg. Baltimore Jewish Times, February 28, 1997, p. 91. Shore talks about the importance of family to her and how her “Jewishness” is evident in her works.