Honored as a New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013
Honored by Cosmopolitan as the one poetry title on their list of "Best Books of the Year For Women, by Women"
A heady, infectious celebration.--The New Yorker
Shaughnessy's voice is smart, sexy, self-aware, hip . . . consistently wry, and ever savvy.--Harvard Review
Brenda Shaughnessy's heartrending third collection explores dark subjects--trauma, childbirth, loss of faith--and stark questions: What is the use of pain and grief? Is there another dimension in which our suffering might be transformed? Can we change ourselves? Yearning for new gods, new worlds, and new rules, she imagines a parallel existence in the galaxy of Andromeda.
Rave reviews for Our Andromeda
"Love is the fierce engine of this beautiful and necessary book of poems. Love is the high stakes, the whip of its power and grief and possibility for repair. Brenda Shaughnessy has brought her full self to bear in Our Andromeda, and the result is a book that should be read now because it is a collection whose song will endure." --The New York Times Book Review
It is a monumental work, and makes a hash of those tired superlatives that will no doubt crop up in subsequent reviews. But the truth is that I have no single opinion about this collection--how could I? The book is a series of narratives that resist interpretation but not feeling--except that I am certain it further establishes Shaughnessy's particular genius, which is utterly poetic, but essayistic in scope, encompassing ideas about astronomy, illness, bodies, the family, 'normalcy, ' home. --The New Yorker
Another Brooklyn poet, Marianne Moore, defined poetry as 'imaginary gardens, with real toads in them.' In Our Andromeda, Shaughnessy has imagined a universe, and in it, real love moves, quick with life. --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Brenda Shaughnessy...laments and sometimes makes narratives about the struggle to keep her small family together in the aftermath of a difficult birth. In the title poem, she posits a galaxy far, far away where familial love might overtake all woe and turmoil of the heart and body and mind. Once there, she says to her son, 'you'll have the babyhood you deserved.' She also delivers a number of lovely lyrics in a supple, plainly stated line; some merely expressive, some with a philosophically questioning air; on fate, dreams, the present time's long gaze back at the past -- you know, all the good things poets write about."-- Alan Cheuse, on NPR's list "5 Books of Poems to Get You Through the Summer"
"This book explores love and motherhood and the turbulent terrain of grief."--Cosmopolitan
Shaughnessy articulates, with force and clarity, the transformation that motherhood has required of her. Her poems are full of regret and ferocity.--Boston Review
Brenda Shaughnessy explores the possibilities of a second chance in life and what could come of it. Enticing and thoughtful, Our Andromeda is a fine addition to contemporary poetry shelves. --The Midwest Book Review
Brenda Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan and grew up in Southern California. She is the author of Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Interior with Sudden Joy (FSG, 1999). Shaughnessy's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Harper's, The Nation, The Rumpus, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark, and lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and daughter.