Brenda Shaughnessy s poems bristle with imperatives confuse me, spoon feed me, stop the madness, decide There are direct orders in her first few pages than in six weeks of boot campOnly Shaughnessy s kidding Or she is and she isn t If you just want to boss people around, you re a control freak, but if you can joke about it, then your bossiness is leavened by Brenda Shaughnessy s poems bristle with imperatives confuse me, spoon feed me, stop the madness, decide There are direct orders in her first few pages than in six weeks of boot campOnly Shaughnessy s kidding Or she is and she isn t If you just want to boss people around, you re a control freak, but if you can joke about it, then your bossiness is leavened by a yeast that s all too infrequent in contemporary poetry, that of humor New York Times Shaughnessy s voice is smart, sexy, self aware, hip consistently wry, and ever savvy Harvard Review Brenda Shaughnessy writes like the love child of Mina Loy and Frank O Hara Exquisite Corpse In its worried acceptance of contradiction, its absolute refusal of sentimentality and its acute awareness of time s scarce infinity, this is a brilliant, beautiful and essential continuation of the metaphysical verse tradition Publishers Weekly, starred review Human Dark with Sugar is both wonderfully inventive studded with the strangenesses of snownovas and flukeprints and emotionally precise Her I is madly multidexterous urgent, comic, mischievous and the result is a new topography of the debates between heart and head Matthea Harvey, a judge for the Laughlin Award Seriously playful, sexy, sharp edged, and absolutely commanding throughout.Here you ll meet an I boldly ready to take on the world and just itching to give You some smart directives So listen up Library JournalIn her second
Human Dark with Sugar Brenda Shaughnessy s poems bristle with imperatives confuse me spoon feed me stop the madness decide There are direct orders in her first few pages than in six weeks of boot campOnly Shaughnessy s
This book is the chick lit of poetry Brenday Shaunnessy is great at the art of disconnection to others but also offers nothing of redeeming value that you can take with you after a five minute read There is a street smartness about her work Then there is the smartness gained by reading, intellectual curiosity and emotional intelligence that is not reflected anywhere Lines like Throw your love until it sticks or, At our miserable dinner even my own chewing disgusted me reek of sit com one liners [...]
Often times when I I was going to say peruse, but I don t think that s casual enough wander through the poetry section of the library I ll pull out a book or two or however many it takes, until one grabs me This book did just that After casually looking at some of the lines in the poems, I thought I had a smash hit.It s a strange book though While many of the individual lines of the poem are clutch, I rarely felt like that about her poems when taken as a whole I mean, who wouldn t think Why do w [...]
My review of this collection is now available on the Gently Read Literature website gentlyread.wordpress 2008 3 3 4 stars I was a big fan of Brenda Shaughnessy s first collection Interior With Sudden Joy and it s probably not so fair to compare two different collections, but this one was disappointing to me in comparison and did not rise to my expectations.Whereas the first collection seemed quirkily opaque and ornate, this one seemed transparent and plain and maybe even a little bit too close [...]
Human Dark With Sugar by Brenda Shaughnessy arrived in the mail from the American Academy of Poets and I was pleased because I haven t read a book of poetry in some time I think that it is only fair that I review this book on this, the last day of National Poetry Month This second book of poetry from Shaughnessy won the James Laughlin Award.The first section of the book is Anodyne, also known as a pain killer This section of the book is not euphoric by any means It is almost as if she is attempt [...]
I was let down by Human Dark With Sugar As the winner of the James Laughlin Award judged in part by Matthea Harvey, a poet whose work thrills me, Brenda Shaughnessy s collection seemed disjointed, the poems themselves stuck in mid draft with editing to do or maybe having undergone too much editing The diction stands out as mesmerizing, but the syntax, the halting, the overall ruggedness of getting from top to bottom of each poem took away from the experience of lovely words I really wanted to l [...]
Winner of the James Laughlin Award, this book is stunning I liked her first book, Interior with sudden joy, just fine language play, passion, etc But here, in her second book, there s meat along with those same early qualities Shaughnessy is an interesting poet to read for sound her work sometimes seems almost formal, with interior rhyme, interesting rhythm It s tempting to look for hidden buried forms But I don t think they re there Instead, it s an organic conversation of sounds, which I real [...]
I really liked her first book, so I have high expectations for this collection I m only about 15 poems in thus far, and I have to say I m underwhelmed I ll write when I ve read it for real hopefully it gets better It didn t get much better for me The voice and diction in this collection is so much less charged and jeweled than her first Disappointing.
This is a stupendous book
Just re read I can t believe THIS book won an award, and her first book a poetry gift from God not the actual title didn t What is the deal with that Why didn t anyone ask me
I don t always understand other people s poetry Which I usually just take to mean that I need to keep the book, and re read it periodically I feel like in all honesty I m not necessarily MEANT to understand every poem the first time I read it I feel like I will re read it at some later date, and if I m meant to understand it then I will THAT BEING SAID reading this book spurred me to write a poem of my own Which happens less often than I d like to admit But I wrote one last night Sooo YAY D
My god It reads so easily, this collection, you can just breeze through it, but it s also so clever and there are so many hidden gems in the lines that you have to slow right the fuck down Brilliant, brilliant I have a head full of quotes Read it.
Collection of poems that run a bit too conversational and scattered for me, for the most part.
Have been spending some time with Brenda Shaughnessy s Human Dark with Sugar, and finding that it demands re reading The re reading is mostly because you have to enter a kind of mental hole in order to be with the poem, and if you enter the poem but miss the hole, the lines don t coelesce into a thought that resonates How to find the hole I feel like it s similar to getting into the ropes when someone s twirling double dutch in my experience, you can t really make it happen rather, the less you [...]
Found this, and read it on a whim and I am so glad I did Shaughnessy has such a unique control of language, and her poems are vivid and pointed, they move in really interesting ways I really enjoyed One Love Story, Eight Takes, and Embarrassment Highly recommend this collection and Brenda Shaughnessy in general to all
I am lonely with questions It s too sad to be so ordinary every day Like some kind of employee There is no magic if it can t stain and absorb itself People think that to be wise is to be old, owlish, unbearable, or Chinese Wrong Three summers like any other three summers aren t they long and dayful with traintrips to the sea edge and free legs Another way of putting it is like slathering jam on a scrape Because secrets secrete Language is architecture, after all, not an air capsule, not a hang g [...]
I ve been trying to read some poems over spring break, and this is the volume that I found most satisfying it s lyric, if that s a fair description of poems that are much spoken than sung, and it satisfies on that level by being consistently inventive, or image, phrase, and line, and also burying and then excavating some real conflict.I m not doing this book justice it is really inventive, fresh, and often funny, even in poems that are otherwise heartbreakers Shaughnessy has a pretty filthy mo [...]
No lacerating spasms sending electrical sparks through the toes stars have those 5 will be our clock lock 8 It seems our legs were tangled but how tangled could they be, four numb posts holding our bodies up against the large dark night of each other 16 I bought a dress that was so extravagantly feminine you could see my ovaries through it This is how I thought I would seduce you This is how frantic I hollowed out 21 Language is architecture, after all, not an air capsule not a hang glide 24 Red [...]
Human Dark with Sugar is Shaughnessy s second collection after Interior With Sudden Joy, and it s quite an improvement The language isn t nearly as overwrought, and there s a touch of humor that was missing in the previous collection The poems that work best are the ones that focus on other people There is a poem about a love affair with a man in Tokyo, This Loved Body , that is absolutely gorgeous For example, in the section describing the beloved s eyes 15Above the eyes you have symmetrical aw [...]
I will immediately state that I am biased in my review if this because this book was required reading for a course I am also not a person who reads poetry regularly or appreciate it properly As such I enjoyed this compliation of 20 or so poems as well as any other person who is unfamiliar with poetry It was an ok read and the author has a unique style It s rare these days to see someone use rhyme, sparingly but jut as well, and not make it sound ridiculous or like spoken word There s a bluntness [...]
Hm a strange blend of fantastic and frustratingly mediocre no, no, a blend of fantastic and just plain bad Some of the poems read like a tenth grader s diary entries all tell and no show, no visuals, just faux deep stream of consciousness Absolute drivel But many of the poems are MARVELOUS whole oceans of surprising imagery and perfect lines I tab poems I like in collections of poetry, and I ve got twenty odd tabs in this book But oh, dear, the poems I did not tab how did they make it into the [...]
The first poem I m Over the Moon has some nice images and is a straightforward lament on the failures of romance, oddly enough I mean, a poet worrying about love They still do that.Shaughnessy also worries about math, refraction, the Planck limit, sometimes clearly and sometimes enigmatically, as in I m Perfect at Feelings, which continuesso I have no problem telling youwhy you cried over the third lostmetal or the mousetrap.Some of the enigmatic imagery is evocative if elusive A centaur s first [...]
Ah, so torn Reread this book and was sadly disappointed this second go I still would give this book to friends who don t necessarily like poetry because it is very readable, playful, and savvy I would put Shaughnessy in the category of what I like to call Gateway Poets, poets that, like gateway drugs, incite people to explore poetry deeper But, but, but, there s too much undercutting of emotion, self consciousness, hiding, duplicity, and hipster ness for me Where is the soul I get the spunk, but [...]
The first couple sections of this book are yes, are superb, are extravagant There is so much overboard sexual energy in these poems, connecting to real love and lust, it made it pleasure and delight to read But then This Loved Body just made all of it inert Its devotion doesn t fit with the art that s in the rest of the book And many of the poems after that, at least until A Brown Age couldn t regain that lost traction.
Sexy, funny, smart Yeah, I pretty much want to be Brenda Shaughnessy when I grow up The way she details the body, sometimes erotically, sometimes just frankly, reminds me of Olga Broumas The dark aspect of the poetry, usually involving the ends of relationships, uses humor to achieve a tone that s strong rather than self pitying And the metaphors Huge, crazy metaphors Or small, weird ones Love them.
Three sections Anodyne, Ambrosia, Astrolabe.Favorite A Poet s Poem To be wise is simply to be understood, even missed Spring in Space A Lecture All the cities are like you anyway Windowsdarken when I get close enough to see Drift Hurting you vaporizes me,which is why I love others Sorry, T Tell me a new story, one you don t know the middle of Three Sorries
I read a book of poems from beginning to end, no skipping around, and after reading the first few poems I started to ask myself what s the fuss all about They weren t that great But the I read, the I enjoyed the poems in the book They are different yet familiar she carves an original a poetic identity for herself in her use of metaphysical themes and investigation of the philosophical I think this is a book that I will like and each time I read it.
I loved her Moon poem, which I read in McSweeneys, so I bought this book blindly somewhat Her other poems didn t electrify me like I thought they would Something didn t connect I don t know why Technically they are top notch Subject matter interesting, but the energy behind the words missed my chakras.Too bad.
Really enjoyed this Favorite lines It s like having a bad boyfriend in a good band.Better off alone but wanting an ecstatic black hole was just bad beauty I make a haunted lake and rinse and rinse.I take what I want, and have ever since whatI want disappeared, like anything hunted.
Brenda Shaughnessy s collection is my first foray into her poetry After reading primarily narrative poetry Shaughnessy s work came off as a bit too self consciously academic but as I sat longer with the poems I appreciated her sense of intertextuality and playfulness with form and language There s a lot of humor, depth, and care in this work and I m sure it s one I will return to again soon.
Some serious poetry that doesn t take itself too seriously Shaughnessy s verses deftly blend a sometimes snarky sensibility with frank emotional portrayals and sincerity A must read for anyone who enjoys a poet with a sense of humor.