Poetry. In Brenda Shaughnessy's OUR ANDROMEDA, playful musicality and deadpan humor meld with blunt questions and a plea for an alternate galaxy in which merciful do-overs are possible. In this imagined world, the speaker has a band of sisters, "enough to fight with and still / have plenty to confess to"; access to past and future selves; and, finally, a chance to protect her newborn baby from irrevocable harm. Throughout these poems, Shaughnessy blasts apart our typical expectations while she maintains the familiar and consoles sufferers in the real world of hostile truths. As when she imagines a world where she is "magical and can cook lamb and rice / pudding and pour many drinks," without taking her hands off the ones she loves, she proves herself a fierce, oracular guardian of family: "Be strange to yourself, / in your love, your grief."
Author City: Brooklyn, NY USA
Brenda Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan, and grew up in Southern California. She is the author of OUR ANDROMEDA (Copper Canyon Press, 2012); HUMAN DARK WITH SUGAR (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999). Shaughnessy's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Harper's, The Nation, The Rumpus, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark, and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and daughter.
Reviews and Other Links
Rebecca Farivar @ The Rumpus
Victoria Redel @ The New York Times
Publishers Weekly starred review
Hilton Als @ The New Yorker