Synopses & Reviews
This collection of bold and scathingly beautiful feminist poems imagines what comes after our current age of environmental destruction, racism, sexism, and divisive politics.
Informed by Brenda Shaughnessy’s craft as a poet and her worst fears as a mother, the poems in The Octopus Museum blaze forth from her pen: in these pages, we see that what was once a generalized fear for our children (car accidents, falling from a tree) is now hyper-reasonable, specific, and multiple: school shootings, nuclear attack, loss of health care, a polluted planet. As Shaughnessy conjures our potential future, she movingly (and often with humor) envisions an age where cephalopods might rule over humankind, a fate she suggests we may just deserve after destroying their oceans. These heartbreaking, terrified poems are the battle cry of a woman who is fighting for the survival of the world she loves, and a stirring exhibition of who we are as a civilization.
“A breakthrough book . . . Ambitious in concept and structure.” Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
“Musical, expressive lines that triumph in their complexity and grace . . . With an unparalleled ear for language, Shaughnessy excels at making the tragic transcendent.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A highly original look at the world as it is today and the dangers we seem intent on inflicting upon ourselves . . . Shaughnessy writes startling poems that are both intellectually wide-ranging and emotionally riveting.” Ginny Lowe Connors, New York Journal of Books
About the Author
Branda Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan, and grew up in Southern California. She is the author of four books of poetry, including So Much Synth, Human Dark with Sugar–winner of the James Laughlin Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award–and Our Andromeda,which was a New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books of 2013. She is an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark. She lives in New Jersey.