Shaughnessey has made, in my opinion, the best collection of poetry 2016 had to offer. It was almost impossible to force myself to slow down and savor each piece in this book. Her writing is so kinetic, truthful, heartwrenching, and fun, that you never want it to end. So Much Synth is soaked in the colors, sounds, and attitudes of the recent past. The 80's and 90's coming of age of the poet on full display; homages to Annie Lennox, Depeche Mode, and more mixtape classics, shitty apartments in the San Francisco lesbian grunge scene, and then in conclusion, an impassioned plea for the future to be slightly more easy on the generation we're leaving it to. It's a tall order to have a poet engage your head, heart, and humor all at once, but that's exactly what you get with So Much Synth.— From Cory
"Shaughnessy's particular genius . . . is utterly poetic, but essayistic in scope."--The New Yorker
"Brenda Shaughnessy's work is a good place to start for any passionate woman feeling daunted by poetry." --Cosmopolitan
"Shaughnessy's voice is smart, sexy, self-aware, hip . . . consistently wry, and ever savvy."--Harvard Review
Subversions of idiom and cliche punctuate Shaughnessy's fourth collection as she approaches middle age and revisits the memories, romances, and music of adolescence. So Much Synth is a brave and ferocious collection composed of equal parts femininity, pain, pleasure, and synthesizer. While Shaughnessy tenderly winces at her youthful excesses, we humbly catch glimpses of our own.
From "Never Ever":
Late is a synonym for dead which is a euphemism
for ever. Ever is a double-edged word,
at once itself and its own opposite: always
and always some other time.
In the category of cleave, then. To cut and to cling to,
Brenda Shaughnessy was born in Okinawa, Japan and grew up in Southern California. She is the author of three books of poetry, including Human Dark with Sugar, winner of the James Laughlin Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Our Andromeda, which was a New York Times Book Review "100 Notable Books of 2013." She is an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, Newark, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.