UCSC alumna wins prestigious 2013 Guggenheim

Poet Brenda Shaughnessy returns to campus for Alumni Weekend including a free public reading on April 25

UC Santa Cruz alumna Brenda Shaughnessy
UC Santa Cruz alumna Brenda Shaughnessy
Brenda Shaughnessy  as a student at UC Santa Cruz in the early 1990's.
Brenda Shaughnessy (right) shown as a student at UC Santa Cruz in the early 90's.

UC Santa Cruz 1993 graduate Brenda Shaughnessy has been awarded a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship for the creative arts in poetry.

She is one of a diverse group of 175 scholars, artists, and scientists who were selected this year by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation from a group of 3,000 applicants.

Shaughnessy’s most recent collection of poetry is Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press, 2012).

The New York Times Sunday Review of Books gave the book a rave review, noting:

“Shaughnessy’s emotionally charged and gorgeously composed third volume of poems, “Our Andromeda,” moves me line by line and poem by poem so that by the book’s final, monumental title poem, I am top-of-the-head-blown-off undone. In “Our Andromeda” Shaughnessy has brought to bear her inevitable syntactic and sonic hula-hooping, her playful and ironic uses of form, her vivid mind on poems that absolutely matter.”

Now living in Brooklyn, Shaughnessy is currently poetry editor-at-large at Tin House Magazine. She is also the author of two other poetry collections: Human Dark with Sugar, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award; and Interior with Sudden Joy, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. 

Her poems have also appeared in such renowned venues as Harpers, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review.

"I fell in love with Brenda Shaughnessy's book Human Dark With Sugar, and then was totally bowled over by her newest book, Our Andromeda,” said UCSC professor of literature Micah Perks, co-director of the UCSC Creative Writing Program. “I'm a huge fan.”

Two decades ago at UC Santa Cruz, Shaughnessy was also a student of Feminist Studies professor Bettina Aptheker. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Brenda back to UCSC,” said Aptheker. “She graduated 20 years ago with a degree in Women's Studies and Literature, and all of us who worked with her have tracked her growing celebrity as a poet and teacher.”

Aptheker noted that Shaughnessy will give a poetry reading on Thursday April 25, at 6 p.m. in the Humanities Lecture Hall as part of UCSC’s Living Writers series.

She will also participate in a luncheon with UCSC undergraduate students at the Ethnic Resource Centers on April 26th from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30  p.m. at their Bay Tree offices.

Shaughnessy will additionally present a talk titled "Feminism & Poetry, Empowerment & Passion," and appear on a faculty panel to discuss the latest developments in UCSC’s Feminist Studies Department--including the launch of its new Feminist Studies graduate program, the UC Presidential Chair in Feminist Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, the current curriculum, faculty research, and more—on  Saturday, April 27, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Humanities 1 building, Room 210.

All of these events are free and open to the public.

“We welcome everyone to these joyous opportunities to hear a truly great poet share the passion and love of her work,” said Aptheker.