Brenda Shaughnessy

Class of 1993

I graduated in Women's Studies and Creative Writing in 1993, and have since followed my dream to become a poet. I live in New York and am publishing my third book of poems in September of this year (Copper Canyon Press). I'm an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University.  I love my job! 

I never would have in a million years ever had the confidence to become a poet and follow my hopes and my passion without Women's Studies (as it was called then.) I never would have believed that my voice mattered. Bettina Aptheker, Wendy Brown, Helene Moglen in particular taught me to pay attention to that voice, to develop it and learn to use it skillfully and powerfully.  They shaped my life.  Majoring in Women's Studies was one of the best things I've ever done for myself emotionally, academically, spiritually, and believe it or not, professionally! 

I will be a glad resource and a friend in any way you like for FS at UCSC.  Feel free to give my email to any majors and wanna be writers. I would be delighted to correspond.  I'd also love to visit any classes or do any kind of reading or just touch base with you all and with the new generation of feminists.  Or send them to me in NYC!

Brenda Shaughnessy’s most recent collection of poetry is Our Andromeda, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in September 2012.  She’s also the author of Human Dark with Sugar, which was a finalist for the 2008 NBCC Award and winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets, and Interior with Sudden Joy, finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.  Shaughnessy was the recipient of a Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, an NEA/ Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Fellowship, and most recently, a 2010-11 Howard Foundation Fellowship from Brown University. She has taught at Columbia University, The New School, New York University, and Princeton University. Her poems have appeared in Harpers, McSweeney’s, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.  She is curently Assistant Professor of English and in the M.F.A. Program at Rutgers University at Newark.  She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son, and daughter.