By Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970 Brenda Shaughnessy
is my heart. A stranger
berry there never was,
Gone sour in the sun,
in the sunroom or moonroof,
No poetry. Plain. No
fresh, special recipe
to bless.
All I’ve ever made
with these hands
and life, less
substance, more rind.
Mostly rim and trim,
but making much smoke
in the old smokehouse,
no less.
Fatted from the day,
overripe and even
toxic at eve. Nonetheless,
in the end, if you must
know, if I must bend,
to that excruciation.
No marvel, no harvest
left me speechless,
yet I find myself
somehow with heart,
With heart,
fighting fire with fire,
That loud hub of us,
meat stub of us, beating us
Spectacular in its way,
its way of not seeing,
congealing dayless
but in everydayness.
In that hopeful haunting
(a lesser
way of saying
in darkness) there is
for the pressing question.
Heart, what art you?
War, star, part? Or less:
playing a part, staying apart
from the one who loves,

Brenda Shaughnessy, “Artless” from Our Andromeda. Copyright © 2012 by Brenda Shaughnessy. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

Source: Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press, 2012)

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Poet Brenda Shaughnessy b. 1970

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Love, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Tercet

 Brenda  Shaughnessy


Brenda Shaughnessy earned a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA from Columbia University. She is the author of Interior with Sudden Joy (1999), Human Dark with Sugar (2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, Our Andromeda (2012), and So Much Synth (2016). Her work has appeared in the Yale Review, the Boston Review, McSweeney’s, and Best American Poetry, among other . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Relationships, Arts & Sciences, Poetry & Poets

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Tercet

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