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Brenda Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan, and grew up in southern California. She is the author of Human Dark with Sugar (2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Interior with Sudden Joy (1999). Shaughnessy’s poems have appeared in Best American PoetryHarper’sThe NationThe New YorkerThe Paris Review and The Rumpus. She is an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and daughter.

Our Andromeda

Copper Canyon Press
2013 Shortlist
United States

Judges’ Citation

Brenda Shaughnessy, in her third collection, continues to work the rich verbal surfaces and punning, allusive textures that marked her previous work, but her art has been transformed by a galvanizing sense of necessity into a more riveting, sometimes fiercely direct consideration of what it is to love a child, to care for one whose ability to care for himself is profoundly limited.

Brenda Shaughnessy, in her third collection, continues to work the rich verbal surfaces and punning, allusive textures that marked her previous work, but her art has been transformed by a galvanizing sense of necessity into a more riveting, sometimes fiercely direct consideration of what it is to love a child, to care for one whose ability to care for himself is profoundly limited. What Wallace Stevens called ‘the pressure of reality’ has deepened and furthered the work of a poet whose early poems indeed might have come from the same well as Harmonium. Without losing her music, playfulness or sass, Shaughnessy has established herself as a poet of breathtaking emotional depth; to read such clear, affirming song made out of love, grief and danger is both devastating and uplifting at once.