This collection of bold and scathingly beautiful feminist poems imagines what comes after our current age of environmental destruction, racism, sexism, and divisive politics.
BRENDA 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.
*Named one of the 100 Notable Books of 2019 by The New York
*Named a Best Book of 2019 by Publishers Weekly and Library Journal*
"Like octopuses, Shaughnessy's poems manage to be both fleshy and cerebral, concerned with a self that breathes through fragile skin. She offers up these beautiful innards through her words; they twist agony into acceptance only to return and be picked apart again, a recognizable cycle of motherhood and womanhood-humanhood, depending on your definition." -Nikki Shaner-Bradford, The Paris Review
"In a heightened conversational tone, utterly accessible yet with a punch of ideas so swift and rich as to make multiple readings a necessary pleasure, this new collection investigates identity, human hunger for what we maybe can't have, and how we see and feel the world differently when we have children." -Library Journal (Best Books 2019)
"Shaughnessy can write the kind of line that is confusing in its beauty, whose beauty exceeds its sense, [lines] that can be read and reread without exhausting their potential meaning." -Elisa Gabbert, The New York Times Book Review
"An immersive tour of social and ecological calamities, as well as an elegy for the present." -Matthew Johnstone, BookPage
"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
"Part sci-fi and part reality, The Octopus Museum is as unsettling as it is hypnotic. The poems take you into an alternate reality where, because of humanity's shortcomings, cephalopods rule the earth. Brimming with maternal anxiety, scathing humor, and enduring terror, these poems are nothing short of a call to action." -Logan Voss, Fupping
"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 breakthrough book . . . Ambitious in concept and structure." -Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions