Join poets Nick Laird and Brenda Shaughnessy for readings of their new poetry collections, Feel Free and The Octopus Museum.
"Nick Laird’s dazzling poems arrive with a kind of revolutionary candor; a truth-telling that’s political, existential, and above all, emotional.… Feel Free is essential poetry.”—Terrance Hayes
Feel Free, the fourth collection from acclaimed poet Nick Laird, effortlessly marries the acoustic expansiveness of Whitman or Ashbery with the lyricism of Laird’s forebears Heaney, MacNeice, and Yeats. With characteristic variety, invention, and wit, Laird explores the patterns of freedom and constraint—the family, the impress of history, the body itself—and how we might transcend them. Always daring, always renewing, Feel Free is Laird’s most remarkable work to date.
Nick Laird’s work has garnered multiple awards including the Eric Gregory Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. Feel Free was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Laird is a writer-in-residence at NYU and Chair of Creative Writing (poetry) at Queen's University, Belfast. He lives in New York and Ireland. http://nicklaird.com/
The Octopus Museum, a collection of bold and scathingly beautiful feminist poems, imagines what comes after our current age of environmental destruction, racism, sexism, and divisive politics.
Informed by Brenda Shaughnessy's craft as a poet and her worst fears as a mother, the poems in The Octopus Museum blaze forth from her pen: in these pages, we see that what was once a generalized fear for our children (car accidents, falling from a tree) is now hyper-reasonable, specific, and multiple: school shootings, nuclear attack, loss of health care, a polluted planet. As Shaughnessy conjures our potential future, she movingly (and often with humor) envisions an age where cephalopods might rule over humankind, a fate she suggests we may just deserve after destroying their oceans. These heartbreaking, terrified poems are the battle cry of a woman who is fighting for the survival of the world she loves, and a stirring exhibition of who we are as a civilization.
Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of five poetry collections, most recently The Octopus Museum (Knopf 2019). 2012’s Our Andromeda was a New York Times’ 100 Notable Book, a finalist for the Griffin International Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Prize. She received a 2018 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a 2013 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Newark.