I'm glad no one was in the store when I found out that Brenda Shaughnessy has a new collection out. I did a little dance (pinioned my arms like a 4 yr old and hopped around a bit... it probably looked like I was in the early stages of passing a kidney stone) and may have squealed a little bit. Shaughnessy was one of my first poetry loves after I entered grad school. We read Interior with Sudden Joy, and I wanted to read everything she'd ever written, which, at the time, was mainly found in the book we'd just read.
Now she has a second collection,Human Dark with Sugar and I'm still very much infatuated. As were the judges of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. Her poems are smart, lively, sexy, funny and surreal. Exquisite Corpse said of her first collection, "Brenda Shaughnessy... writes like the love-child of Mina Loy and Frank O'Hara." Her word play, confessionalism, sensuality, boldness, theory and sureality stand at the forefront of this comparrison.
In the new collection, seeking/missing/finding/losing/forcing love compells the quick wit and awareness. I leave you with a section from a poem titled, "One Love Story, Eight Takes."
It's only fair that I present yet another side
as insidious as it is,
because two sides hold up nothing but each other.
A tentacled skepticism,
a suspended contempt,
such fancies and toxins form a third wall.
A mean way to end
and I never dreamed we meant it.