Shanna Compton


BRINK (Bloof Books, 2013)

In her third collection, Shanna Compton offers poems for our brink times: As Texas burns, the Midwest drowns. As one planet explodes, Curiosity captures stunning panoramas of Mars. As one couple survives their hundredth argument, another slips into the silent depths of an ocean trench. The poems in Brink explore the slippage between our lives and the sensation of living inside a miniseries, insistently assuring us we're still solidly here, "amidst all this news." [Purchase from Bloof Books]

FOR GIRLS & OTHERS (Bloof Books, 2007)

In her second collection, Shanna Compton leads readers on a lightly satirical tour through various works of advice for young women, including antique etiquette manuals, 19th-century sermons, pseudoscientific physiology textbooks, newspaper clippings, and the Internet. Counseling girls on everything from fashion to family, the multiple personae in For Girls (& Others) clamour to convey their contradictory (and often ridiculous) wisdom, as their polyvocal cacophony pitches toward hysterical heights. [Purchase from Bloof Books]

DOWN SPOOKY (Winnow Press, 2005)

Vigorous, winningly smart and consistently hip, Compton's debut follows a horde of quick-witted alter egos through a decidedly American, youth-oriented landscape whose sites include high schools, zoos, the football fields of Texas, the kudzu-damaged forests of the rural South, the skyscrapers of post-9/11 Manhattan and the rock and roll lounges of innermost Brooklyn. Compton, who just ended a long stint as associate [publisher] at Soft Skull Press, portrays the pleasures and fears of her generation with "that hookymaking/ convincibility of mine," deploying a quick-change lingo of "Slashy Speakers, Nervy Endings" in poems that veer in and out of narrative sense: she shows off a language equal parts angst and speed, with a soft spot for "the longing of the never-ringing telephones" and repeated returns to runaway teens. Compton shows a particular talent for love poems á la C.D. Wright and D.A. Powell: "Your mouth is its own environment a canyon/ with trees and snow," an augmented sonnet proclaims; "lips that have smiled are as limitless as leaves." If some work toward the end of the collection seems too short for its own good, other poems may rocket into anthologies. The whole, meanwhile, reveals great energy and a promise beyond its parts. —Publishers Weekly [Purchase from Bloof Books]

GAMERS (Soft Skull Press, 2004)

No longer just for kids and fanatics, video games have been growing in sophistication and popularity with each passing year and their cultural reach is expanding too — spawning magazines, international conferences, university courses, and blockbuster movies. In Gamers, noted writers, artists, scholars, poets, and programmers talk about what gaming means to them and discuss the growing impact of video games on fashion, fiction, film, and music. Contributors include Richard Powers, Colson Whitehead, Shelley Jackson, Matthew Sharpe, Marc Nesbitt, Daniel Nester, Whitney Pastorek, and Jim Andrews. Essays feature a glittering mix of topics from the esoteric to the purely entertaining: gender identity in relation to gaming, video golf as a meditative exercise, Ms. Pacman versus The Sims, the similarities between writing fiction and programming, the confessions of a video poker junkie, and much more in this witty, wide-screen look at how video games are becoming part of the cultural landscape. [Purchase from an independent bookseller]