Robert B. Shaw

Professor Emeritus of English
Poetry writing; modern British and American poetry; seventeenth-century literature; American Southern literature of the twentieth century

Robert Shaw is the author of Solving for X, an award-winning collection of new poems. “Solving for X is droll and puzzled, elegiac and satirical in equal measure,” writes Rachel Hadas. “Shaw's attention alights on a variety of more and less tangible things—a seed catalog, a shirt, a bad book, a request for a letter of recommendation, an irritating colleague’s death—which his masterfully packed lines then proceed to light up with deliberate and unforgettable authority.”

Shaw’s previous books of poetry are The Post Office Murals Restored,Below the Surface, and The Wonder of Seeing Double. In addition to poetry, Shaw is currently working on a number of critical pieces, including a review of the collected poems of Robert Lowell, who was one of his teachers at Harvard University. He is also the author of a study of the poetry of John Donne and George Herbert. His poems and articles appear frequently in American and British magazines.

Shaw regularly teaches poetry writing as well as courses in a number of areas of literature. Before coming to Mount Holyoke, Shaw taught at Harvard and Yale.


Poetry collections

  • The Wonder of Seeing Double. U. Mass Press, 1988
  • The Post Office Murals Restored. Copper Beech Press, 1994
  • Below the Surface. Copper Beech Press, 1999
  • Solving for X. Ohio University Press, 2002


  • The Call of God: The Theme of Vocation in the Poetry of Donne and Herbert. Cowley, 1981

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