Publishers Weekly - Publishers WeeklyVigorous, 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 editor 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 a 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. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
- Winnow Press
- Publication date:
- Age Range:
- 9 - 18 Years
What People are Saying About This
Lisa Jarnot"Shanna Compton steps up to the plate as a new breed of adventure-seeking wordsmith. Check in here for daring flares of language, jocular and dancing, with a direct address to the populous of peoples and their props. Get refreshed, and get Down Spooky."
David Lehman"'Lips that have smiled are as limitless as leaves,' Shanna Compton writes in her poem 'Mouth Made Out of Trees.' Her poems are 'limitless' in this and other senses; her work radiates an exuberant joy in the life of words. Down Spooky is a remarkable debut collection by a poet of wit, whimsy, intelligence, and charm."
Caroline Knox"A sound freak and a sight freak, Shanna Compton has 'hookymaking conviviality.' Note the predilection for nutty dialogue: 'I believe her married name was Smith-Corona'; 'We are fronded tickers'; and this satisfying nature etude, from 'Mouth Made out of Trees' (and out of Stevens): 'the snow your mouth a new environment mouth/inhalation rapid breathing environmental plantsign.' What a racket. But this poet is also affectingly elegant with the visuals: a cat is 'a shroud of a pet'; in an instant, 'the Oreo dims the milk'--glimpses that haunt the reader."
Tom Beckett"Shanna Compton's Down Spooky is a little bit Texas and a whomping dose of New York School. Ms. Compton has a great ear and a good eye for the telling detail, and this gifted poet doesn't mince words. I like that. I like these poems a lot. There is something quotable, something memorable on every page of Down Spooky."
Harry Mathews"Down Spooky is as enchanting as a blue lake on a hot summer day that you never want to get out of once you've plunged in. The book brims with liveliness, and love, and wit. Shanna Compton has an uncanny gift of seizing moments and situations with sure aplomb, and even when she is reveling in word play--in purely verbal speculation--her words lead to insight. Readers can only be grateful for such beneficent interventions."
Susan Wheeler"As Shanna Compton writes, 'Hooray for the Differently Sane.' Down Spooky is a marvel of deep play and deeper knowingness. Read it and take joy!"
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