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In Shaughnessy's visceral wonderland, obsession and poison go hand in hand, mirrors make people vanish, and nuns are definitely not safe in their alabaster chambers. She's ever intent on rescuing (or wresting) us from our easy beliefs. "The Question and Its Mark" is her stunning take on the myth of Leda and the Swan, its final couplet reading: "Leda possessed a pair of knees that also bent / in prayer. I ask of you only what she asked for there." Yes, this poet knows her tropes, and has a sure synesthetic touch. Her pairs of women are "hot with mixed / light drunk with insult," and her private language--in which words such as blue, strumpet, and silver reverberate--soon becomes a kind of lingua franca between her and the reader. In her debut, Shaughnessy's debt to the surrealists, particularly to Dorothea Tanning, is visible and audible on each page. She's also a distant and distancing poetic relative of Sylvia Plath, wielding a similar jaunty threat. "Epithalament," her twist of an epithalamium, invokes a woman lost--and begins: "Other weddings are so shrewd on the sofa, short / and baffled, basset-legged." What better combination could there be of tradition, the individual talent, and the razor-sharp imagination? --Kerry Fried --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
One of my favorite books of poetry. Her word choice is exacting, her imagination, immense. Brilliant and necessary book.Published 10 months ago by Sarah K. Lain
This is one of those books I make sure and take with me when I move. I won't bother trying to sound smart. Read morePublished on November 16, 2011 by Olive Bazzle
I'm surprised that a lot of readers do not see through the pretty and odd words. Because although in her stronger poems it is difficult to assess whether she really has something... Read morePublished on March 29, 2009 by thespider
I went to a reading and heard brenda give voice to the words
that were splayed out on her pages. Read more
....willfully recondite, not restructuring language as much as hawking a private lexicon of buzz words in free association to the admiration of the impressionable. Read morePublished on May 25, 2004 by Howard Grady Brown
This is a formidable book. One of the greatest first books of poetry I've read. Her writing is avant-garde & linguistically exacting. She's smart.Published on March 13, 2003 by I X Key
It's just so cool! The wat Shaughnessy writes is just so exciting. I honestly can't tell whether in many places there's a vast interior she put inside the words, of which I can... Read morePublished on May 23, 2002
This work represents deep, textual layering that shouldn't intimidate with its elevated tone. Sentences are highly structured and extremely literate with references to women's... Read morePublished on October 18, 2001 by george hild
These poems are thick with gooey goodness and B.S. has a grand voice, but at times I felt I'd eaten too much candy (and I like candy!). Read morePublished on June 19, 2001