Brenda Shaughnessy


Brenda Shaughnessy
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Brenda Shaughnessy (born in Okinawa, 1970) is an American poet.

She grew up in Southern California. She received her BA in literature and women's studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and MFA at Columbia University.

Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, BOMB, Conjunctions, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press, 2012) is her most recent book of poetry and was selected as a Library Journal "Book of the Year" and as one of the "100 Best Books of 2013" by the New York Times as well as being shortlisted for both the 2013 PEN/Open Book Award and the 2013 ... more »

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Best Poem of Brenda Shaughnessy

Big Game

—after Richard Brautigan's "A Candlelion Poem"

What began as wildfire ends up
on a candle wick. In reverse,
it is contained,

a lion head in a hunter's den.
Big Game.

Bigger than one I played
with matches and twigs and glass
in the shade.

When I was young, there was no sun
and I was afraid.

Now, in grownhood, I call the ghost
to my fragile table, my fleshy supper,
my tiny flame.

Not just any old, but THE ghost,
the last one I will be,

the future me,
finally the sharpest knife
in the drawer.

The ...

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