Brenda Shaughnessy’s “Our Andromeda” Claims Spot on Another Best-Of List

Lawrence Lerner
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Another day, another critical nod to Rutgers University–Newark’s MFA in Creative Writing Program. This time, it is acclaimed poet and Assistant Professor Brenda Shaughnessy’s turn.

Oprah magazine has just recommended Shaughnessy’s collection of poems, Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press), as one of five “Life-Changing Poems Every Woman Should Read.”

In Our Andromeda, Shaughnessy explores the struggle to keep her small family together in the aftermath of a difficult birth.

Writing for Oprah, poet Deborah Landau says, “In the unforgettable story about the birth of her son (who suffered a brain injury), Shaughnessy conjures an alternate galaxy where healing isn't just possible—but required as a survival tool…. Anyone who is—or has—a mother needs to read this book.”

Our Andromeda, Shaughnessy’s third collection of poems, has received rave reviews from The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, NPR, Cosmopolitan and Publishers Weekly since its publication in September 2012. It made The New York Times’ “100 Notable Books of 2013” list, along with NPR’s 2013 list of “5 Books of Poems to Get You Through the Summer.”

Shaughnessy's earlier poetry collections include Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press, 2008) and Interior with Sudden Joy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999). Her poems and prose have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, The Nation, Publisher’s Weekly and The Village Voice, just to name a few.

Shaughnessy, who was born in Okinawa, Japan, and grew up in Southern California, has collected a number of prestigious awards during her career. She is the winner of the James Laughlin Award and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, and the Lambda Literary Award for Poetry.