Our Andromeda, Brenda Shaughnessy

Our Andromeda, Brenda Shaughnessy

 

In the stunning Our Andromeda, Brenda Shaughnessy confronts the realities of raising a child born with serious disabilities. The result is her best, most important, most imaginative, and most personal work to date. It also contains an indisputedly major poem. Thick for a single volume, in terms of its overall structure, Our Andromeda is redolant of Seamus Heaney’s classic Seeing Things. The earlier portions of the volume presage/prefigure/build towards a long poem at the end, a poem that is necessarily long because its undertaking is large and necessarilyat the end because it represents the poet’s most difficult undertaking. “Our Andromeda” is a large and single and all-important poetic task: “When we get to Andromeda, Cal, / you’ll have the babyhood you deserved.” In terms of page-length, it isn’t half of the book, but it weighs like half. Its final pages carry the volume as a whole to a conclusion much more profound than your average lyric or narrative exit, and the conclusion it comes to, when earned over 30 pages of utterly honest work, amounts to a revelation. It shocked me how real the light was at the end of this poem, and at the end of this book. Arriving there was the 2012 highlight of my poetry consumption.http://coldfrontmag.com/news/top-40-poetry-books-of-2012-10-1