Shanna Compton


Kind words

Here are the first couple of blurbs for Brink.

Shanna Compton is one of those poets I will always read, will always eagerly anticipate the next brilliant collection to read!! “Even our angst feels replaceable / as if it ebbed a little way”—yet another gem for a misunderstood world that we have been waiting to read and to know. BRINK is a word we gather on top of, ready for the pictures around us to modify us into the new.  Not every poet can promise this word, but it’s most fitting for a Shanna Compton book!! The smart poets of my time have been following her all along, and we know the departure she takes with this latest collection is one we can all be excited to take with her!!   —CAConrad

Shanna Compton’s beautiful new book Brink captures the weird and dazzling collision between the suffering and the awe of contemporary existence. As if through a series of discovered polaroids, in one poem she holds up a raw and tender image of a woman isolated in “the domesticated shell,” in another, she holds up a joyful white blur of something we cannot name, but recognize as our own hazy and sweet connection to the world. At once disturbing and triumphant, the poems in Brink work together to create an honest, unexpected, and fascinating lyrical exhibition of the complicated human heart.   —Ada Limón


& closer still

(Updated with final, sans pesky typos &c.)

I revised that raw-Google block I posted Monday (first 20 pp. for the string "on the brink of") to use as the back cover "description." I think it flows much better now when read aloud, so it is, I guess, another poem.

I *might* have a few copies by the time we do the reading at Stain next month. Maybe.


Edging closer to Brink

of bankruptcy of extinction of war of international stardom of collapse of a deep well of calamity of  a rupture of the river of dawn of the precipice of a rupture of saying something further of matrimony of departure of discovery of affection of a cliff of the hill of disaster of tears of a new revolution of paradise of elimination of making a billion of chaos of fame of poverty of something beautiful of suicide of meltdown of Armageddon of laughter of insanity of an arms race of misadventure of divorce of a dream of death of a missile crisis of explosion of a new era of technological advance of new promise of a decision of infinity of financial insolvency of infidelity of modernism of nuclear destruction of global recession of cool of financial insolvency of a groundbreaking moment of losing of achieving of history of a full-scale military confrontation of falling of being washed away of the greatest depression of all time of freedom of victory of change of dishonor of oligarchy of breakup of a new ice age of political battle of becoming of hurricane season of runaway climate change of failure of success of annihilation of closing of default of signing a contract of a clean energy revolution of irrelevance of stagnation of liquidation of a new product announcement


So much has happened

I am going to have to go back and strike through everything I said about this book (Brink). I've changed it so much in the last few months--stripping a few things out, putting in several new things including another long series--that it's hardly recognizable as the book I spoke of then. That's how it goes. Besides, I'm the first one to admit that I rarely get it right when talking about what I am doing. Bear that in mind when you ignore all I've said. Ha!

Point is: it's going to the printer any day now, and copies will be here in a few weeks. There are a few more tinkering things to do with the typesetting, and the cover. I'm not putting any blurbs on it, but a few folks are sending thoughts to use online, etc. 

I've had a lot of help--been challenged too, pushed. My friends are as generous as they are brilliant.


Baroqueify 1

Nada Gordon is teaching a workshop at the PoProj called" Baroqueify!" and she's sharing the assignments on her blog.

This is the first one. 

A Sort of a Song (William Carlos Williams) 

Let the snake wait under
his weed
and the writing
be of words, slow and quick, sharp
to strike, quiet to wait,
-- through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
the rocks.
And here is me, going for baroque:

As Ordered, Tofu and Some Nougat

Lee Tater, the snake-tattooed waiter 

at the chrome-plated diner under the bridge, 
smokes tons of skunk weed. And his writing
(though it be ostensibly of words) comes slow. 
Dude is neither quick nor none too sharp. 
"OK, striped grilled kewpies, a quiche of water, 
and a bunless tiger burger, got it. You want
fried seeps with that, little lady?" He's so
megacute though, raking his pencil over  
the pad, I don't correct him. "Please. Nested
in compost," I add, nodding vigorously. Eek! 
No idea what buttered sufferings I'll receive to eat! 
I'll not ventriloquize what happens next. Saffron    
scents begin wafting from the green-tiled kitchen
orgasmically as sunspots. When my plate arrives, 
piled with incomprehensibles, all I can mutter is, 
"This rocks."

This is pretty difficult! I got a little caught up in my story here and don't think this is baroque enough. Perhaps I'll improve with more practice. 


And now it is done.

A few days ago I finished the last sequence and sent it to readers and now I have reworked it a bit based on their comments and now it is going in the book and now that is the LAST THING.

It is the absolute last thing.

Except now I have to rework the order because there are so many new things or things I added back after the split of the thick book into two thinner books.

There are enough new things (and re-added things) that this one (of the shorter individual poems and two sequences) feels fresh again to me. Which is how it has to feel for me to want to work on it and have it made into a book and then show you that book and feel OK asking you to read it.

So, this week I will do that: decide on an order. I think I already know that the sequences will come in the middle and at the end, so it's just a matter of deciding if the other poems go in two batches or three batches, and which go together the best.

First though, I catch up with my programming class. I have an assignment due tomorrow. I got behind because I had this deadline and some visitors and went out of town twice also.

I think if you work as a chef but cannot cook vegetables or simply don't care about them very much then maybe you are not a very good chef. I am not going to give you $14 for an oily salad, OK? Or $16 each for tiny oily appetizers that are only three bites. Because you don't have a veggie plate. Last night was the last time.

Probably I will still occasionally give you $12 for a glass of wine but I will not do that very often either.

The poets among ye can read these as poetics statements, if you like.

It's raining.