Robert B. Shaw

Robert B. Shaw is a professor of English at Mount Holyoke College. He writes frequently on modern and contemporary poetry. His own books of poems include Below the Surface and Solving for X (winner of the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize).

Listed in: Poetry · American Literature · Literary Studies

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A 2007 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Blank Verse · A Guide to Its History and Use
By Robert B. Shaw

Blank verse—unrhymed iambic pentameter—is familiar to many as the form of Shakespeare’s plays and Milton’s Paradise Lost. Since its first use in English in the sixteenth century, it has provided poets with a powerful and versatile metrical line, enabling the creation of some of the most memorable poems of Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Frost, Stevens, Wilbur, Nemerov, Hecht, and a host of others.

“This conversational, engaging study offers a much-needed reconsideration of blank verse and the poets who explore its intricacies. Essential.”


Winner of the 2002 Hollis Summers Poetry Prize

In Solving for X, his award-winning collection of new poems, Robert B. Shaw probes the familiar and encounters the unexpected; in the apparently random he discerns a hidden order. Throughout, Shaw ponders the human frailties and strengths that continue to characterize us, with glances at the stresses of these millennial times that now test our mettle and jar our complacency. Often touched with humor, his perceptions are grounded in devoted observation of the changing world.

“His best poems come when he looks into his own heart, then explores how that heart—a poet’s heart—can encompass a nation.”

The New York Times