Award-winning poet Brenda Shaughnessy and four seniors in the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University will read from their work on Friday, October 10 at Labyrinth Books. The reading is part of the Emerging Writers Reading Series, which showcases senior thesis students of the Program in Creative Writing with established writers as special guests. Featuring student writers Anya Lewis-Meeks, Allison Somers, and Aron Wander, the reading begins at 6:00 p.m. at the bookstore at 122 Nassau Street and is free and open to the public.
Brenda Shaughnessy’s most recent collection of poetry is Our Andromeda. She’s also the author of Human Dark with Sugar, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award, and Interior with Sudden Joy. Her poems have appeared in Harpers, McSweeney’s, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Slate.com and elsewhere. She is Poetry Editor-At-Large at Tin House Magazine, and is Assistant Professor of English in the M.F.A. Program at Rutgers University-Newark.
Shaughnessy’s poems are often noted as playful and erotic, lyrical and funny, formal and strange. Reviewing Human Dark with Sugar, poet Cate Peebles noted, “Shaughnessy draws attention to the contradiction of being made up of so many parts while appearing to be one single body.” In The New Yorker, Hilton Als said of her book, Our Andromeda, “It further establishes Shaughnessy’s particular genius, which is utterly poetic, but essayistic in scope, encompassing ideas about astronomy, illness, bodies, the family, ‘normalcy,’ home.”
Shaughnessy has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute, where she was a Bunting Fellow, the Japan/U.S. Friendship Commission, and the Howard Foundation of Brown University. She has taught at several universities including Columbia, The New School, Princeton, and New York University.
The four seniors, who are pursuing a certificate in Creative Writing in addition to their major areas of study, will read from their senior thesis projects. Each is currently working on a novel, screenplay, translations, or a collection of poems or short stories as part of a creative thesis for their certificate with a member of the Creative Writing faculty including Jeffrey Eugenides, Chang-rae Lee, Paul Muldoon, Joyce Carol Oates, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, and Edmund White.
The series, hosted by the seniors in the Program, is intended to present a public showcase for the work of their peers and to invite professional writers by whom the students have been inspired.