...shrewd pacing and curiosity sharpen one’s attention. Here the oddities of our very human lives are keenly observed in bright lyric perfection ... 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.
[A]s irreverent, as full of impish black humor, as any she has published before. But here, they are tinged with . . . something .... All this is not to say Popular Longing isn’t funny. It is. Very much so. It’s just a wryer wit, a wiser sense of humor, all of it still very precise, the math and the music present in every poem of this collection arriving at the tail end of so much absurd uncertainty.
Natalie Shapero is a linguistic sharpshooter with merciless accuracy. Her third collection, Popular Longing , connects the inconsistencies, contradictions, and sheer absurdity of humanity with repeated bullseyes ... Here as in many of these poems, by pruning excuses and obfuscating language, Shapero subtly encourages readers to consider what a life is, and the futility—and absurdity—of attempting to value it in objects or conventional success ... Shapero is an incisive social critic, cutting through the smog of self-absorption and contradictions between what is said and done. In her work, hope and futility waltz together, amid underlying essential truths about our lives, which are tragic, conflicted, farcical, and a one-time-only, singular experience ... Indeed, Shapero’s interest is in all of our popular longings, and in her thoughtful and inventive manner, she questions the likelihood of attaining our dreams, as well as whether or not these dreams serve us in the first place ... a dark, delightful, and insightful collection is both a clear-eyed reflection of and an antidote for our times.