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Professor Brenda Shaughnessy A Finalist for the Prestigious 2013 Griffin Poetry Prize

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Poet and English professor Brenda Shaughnessy, Rutgers University in Newark, was named a finalist for one of poetry’s most prestigious awards, the Griffin Poetry Prize.  She receives a prize of $10,000. Shaughnessy was recognized for her third book of poetry, Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press, 2013.) Her book was chosen from more than 500 as one of seven finalists. The award recipients were announced June 13 at a ceremony in Toronto, Canada.

Shaughnessy teaches in the renowned Rutgers-Newark MFA in Creative Writing Program in the Graduate School-Newark. She also  has taught creative writing at Princeton University, New York University, and The New School. Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan, and grew up in Southern California.

"The Griffin Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious international literary awards, and includes only four international and three Canadian finalists,” notes author Jayne Anne Philips, director of the R-N MFA program. “Brenda Shaughnessy's nomination for Our Andromeda speaks to her reputation as one of the most powerful poets writing in English today. Her presence in the Rutgers Newark MFA and in our English Department is an honor to the University, and a gift to our students."

The Griffin Poetry Prize is the world’s largest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in, or translated into English, from any country in the world. It is funded by the Griffin Trust for Excellence In Poetry “to spark the public’s imagination and raise awareness of the crucial role poetry plays in our cultural life,” according to the Trust’s website. For more on the prize: http://www.griffinpoetryprize.com/

Our Andromeda  has been critically acclaimed since its release.  New York Times reviewer Victoria Redel declared that the book “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,”  (Feb. 3, 2013, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/books/review/our-andromeda-by-brenda-s... ) .  The New Yorker called the book a "heady, infectious celebration," while the Harvard Review said, "Shaughnessy's voice is smart, sexy, self-aware, hip...consistently wry, and ever savvy.”

In writing about the Griffin Prize, The Globe and Mail newspaper of Toronto, Canada, described Our Andromeda and another finalist as “astounding, the sort of wholly engrossing works that transport you to another place, another way of understanding the world.”

In the June 7 NPR Review, Alan Cheuse named Our Andromeda one of “5 Books of Poetry to Get You Through The Summer.”

Our Andromeda (Copper Canyon Press, 2012) follows two other acclaimed books,  Human Dark with Sugar (Copper Canyon Press, 2008), winner of the James Laughlin Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Interior with Sudden Joy (FSG, 1999).  Shaughnessy's poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Bomb, Boston Review, Conjunctions, McSweeneys, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Yale Review.

This was the 13th annual Griffin Prize, which recognizes one Canadian and one international poet.  The three judges -- Suzanne Buffam of Vancouver, Mark Doty of the U.S., and China’s Wang Ping  -- each read 509 books of poetry, from 40 countries, including 15 translations.

For more information on Shaughnessy: http://brendashaughnessy.com/home.html

For more information on the MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers-Newark: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/mfa.