Brenda Shaughnessy

...I do see the poet as someone whose role it is to push back against anti-intellectualism, anti-activism, and passivity in general. The purpose of this pushing back is to show that there are always infinite sides to a story, amazing unimagined perspectives on any narrative, and no limit to how weird and wild and unexpected our language and its meanings can get.

Lambda Literary Award

James Laughlin Award

International Griffin Prize Finalist

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Shaughnessy’s poems come often at a visible cost for poet and speaker alike: to describe the complexities, traumas and incompatibilities of queer inner life (as much as her familial one) amid the cold noisy backdrop of a busy world.
— Adam Fitzgerald
Love is the fierce engine of this beautiful and necessary book of poems. Love is the high stakes, the whip of its power and grief and possibility for repair. Brenda Shaughnessy has brought her full self to bear in ‘Our Andromeda,’ and the result is a book that should be read now because it is a collection whose song will endure.
The New York Times Book Review

Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of five critically-acclaimed volumes of poetry: The Octopus Museum (Knopf, 2019), So Much Synth (Copper Canyon Press, 2016), 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 (FSG, 1999). In describing her poems, the Poetry Foundation notes, “Her work is known for its ability to twin opposites: her poems are both playful and erotic, lyrical and funny, formal and strange.”

In the New Yorker, Hilton Als said of Our Andromeda: “it further establishes Shaughnessy’s particular genius, which is utterly poetic, but essayistic in scope, encompassing ideas about astronomy, illness, bodies, the family, ‘normalcy,’ home.” Shaughnessy’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Harper's, The Nation, The Rumpus, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review.

She has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute, where she was a Bunting Fellow, the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission, and the Howard Foundation of Brown University. She has taught at Columbia, the New School, Princeton, and New York University.

Born in Okinawa, Japan, she grew up in Southern California. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark, and lives in New Jersey with her husband, poet and critic Craig Morgan Teicher, and their son and daughter.



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