The Next Illogical Step In Love Poetry
"The next illogical step
in love poetry
The most inscrutable beautiful names in this world
always do sound like diseases.
It is because they are engorged.
G., I am a fool.
What we feel in the solar plexus wrecks us.
Halfway squatting on a crate where feeling happened.
--from "Dear Gonglya,"
At once hyper-contemporary and archaic, erotic, indecorous, and extravagant like nobody else, Brenda Shaughnessy seeks outrageous avenues of access to the heart, "This strumpet muscle under your breast describing / you minutely, Volupt, volupt."
Brenda Shaughnessy was raised in California and is a graduate of Columbia University's writing program. She lives in New York City.
“I've not encountered a first book of poems this dazzling and bemused since day one. Shaughnessy's work is larkish, unseemly, and riddled with joy. These poems are not plainspoken, but luminous, impenitent, promiscuous. A brilliant sack of silk and ink and willfulness. What a pleasure to have such truths told sexy, seamless, slant.” —Lucie Brock-Broido
“Freedom of verse, freedom of love, certainly, but Brenda Shaughnessy has employed those old liberations for new exploits: hers is an imagination free to pass through all the locked chambers of association--and, in its delight in doing so, grants the poet freedom to find herself. As she says, in the unmistakeable accents of Primavera: 'I live to leave, but I never either . . . / Come, let us miss / another wintertime.'” —Richard Howard
“Edgy and erotic, characterized by bravado and odd beauty . . . A dazzling first book.” —Laura Rosenthal, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
“Interior with Sudden Joy is a quirky, voluptuous thing. It's filled with unexpected, and sometimes opaque, imagery. And it constantly surprises with its tendency to merge harsh and smooth rhythms and sounds . . . An intriguing debut for a gifted young writer.” —Jennifer Poyen, San Diego Union-Tribune
“A heady, infectious celebration of the range and peculiarity of erotic life.” —The New Yorker